Progress must keep going

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Lawrence County Land Bank is looking to clean up abandoned and run-down properties across the county. But there is one area where their hands are tied, and that is on properties with manufactured or mobile homes.

Recent conversations with the land bank have revealed that roughly 30 percent of all properties in the county, and around a quarter of the properties identified by the land bank for targeting so far, are categorized as mobile homes. Mobile and manufactured homes that are tax delinquent account for approximately $1 million annually in unpaid property taxes, according to the land bank.

However, despite all this, federal rules prohibit the use of federal funds earmarked for land bank demolition to be used on mobile homes, even if they’ve been modified and attached to a permanent foundation.

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The Lawrence County Land Bank was urged by Jim Rokakisto to reach out to Ohio’s U.S. Senators and urge them to support changing these restrictions.

As a community, the cleanup of these properties that, in many cases, become havens for squatters or drug activity along with other potential hazards shouldn’t be treated any differently.

The only way this wil change is through legislation at the federal level, and voicing your opinion or asking questions of your legislators is a responsibility we all share as residents.

Lawrence County has an opportunity to make some fantastic progress with cleaning up these abandoned properties. But they can make a lot more progress if their hands aren’t tied on how to clean up a full quarter of the impacted properties in the county.

Portman can be reached at (202) 224-3353, or via email from a web-form on his internet site at Brown can be reached at (202) 224-2315, or via email from a web-form at