A year proving success

Published 9:25 am Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Last week, the Lawrence County Land Bank hosted its final meeting of 2017 and gave those in attendance a summary of what it has accomplished in the past year, as well as plans for the future.

County Treasurer Stephen Dale Burcham, who serves as the head of the land bank, said 67 structures have been torn down since demolitions began in June. This number includes 19 homes in Ironton.

The land bank targets properties that are abandoned and in poor condition. To qualify for removal, a property must vacant for a specified amount of time and be delinquent on taxes.

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Burcham said the land bank plans to tear down more than 100 structures in 2018. Among the first will be properties on Rockwood Avenue in Chesapeake, set for January or February.

That news will, no doubt, please the village’s mayor Tommy Templeton and members of council, who have long sought the demolitions of the proprieties in question. Among those to be targeted will be the “Curry property” a dilapidated structure hanging over Rockwood, which Templeton had specifically asked Burcham at a council meting to make a priority.

The removal of blight and derelict properties will help make the county more attractive, not just to visitors, but also to the industry and business leaders that are sought to provide jobs for the area.

As County Commissioner DeAnna Holliday said throughout her campaign for her seat, “We only get one chance to make a first impression.”

The land bank program has been an asset in that mission, and its first year has shown it to be a true success story.