You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

State holds millions in unused property


Ohio-owned property that could be sold and developed — and potentially produce millions of dollars in revenue — is sitting idle because the state doesn’t know how all of its buildings and lands are being used.

The office of state Treasurer Josh Mandel maintains a database of state property, but doesn’t track the status of its nearly 36,000 properties.

That could soon change. The state budget calls for the formation of a task force charged with identifying recommendations for sale, productive use or consolidation of state-owned real estate.

“I think it’s important to get the state inventory updated or online so we can sell off or rent some of these assets to generate tax revenue,” Mandel said. “This is a great opportunity to generate revenue for the state without raising taxes at all.”

Since 2007, the treasurer’s office has logged about 500 inquiries from the public about putting state properties to different uses.

Tina Marker, co-chair of Preble County Heritage, is part of a group that has been waiting for more than a year to find out what it would cost to buy the former Ohio National Guard armory in Eaton. It was vacated in 2010 when the Guard unit was relocated, but the state won’t even provide an asking price.

Preble County Heritage would like to turn the century-old structure into a museum and has already begun collecting items and laying the groundwork for fundraising.

“At this point we’re kind of in limbo until we hear back from the state,” she said. “It’s very difficult to plan anything until you know where that (price) is going to hit. I have no idea why it’s taken so long.”

Officials from the Adjutant General’s office, commander of the Ohio National Guard, told this newspaper they are researching the delay.

The state owns 35,977 properties, including nearly 6,000 in Hamilton County. In the 10-county region, Clark County has the fewest state-owned properties (32). Warren County, home to part of Caesar Creek State Park, has the most state-owned land in the area with more than 12,000 acres.

A 2007 study by then-state treasurer Richard Cordray found 446 properties — after researching only 20 of the state’s 88 counties — that appeared to have the potential for community or private development. Cordray estimated the total value of those sites at $100 million.

The new task force is being created to address a longstanding gripe for state leaders — that possibly millions of dollars’ worth of land owned by state agencies across Ohio serves little or no function other than making them nontaxable for local governments.

The State Facility Utilization and Consolidation Task Force was created as part of the state budget bill signed into law by Gov. John Kasich last month. Its members will pore over the state’s properties — a total of 670,841 acres of land — and determine which buildings and lands are not being productively used.

The task force will include appointees from the General Assembly, the governor, the Ohio Department of Administrative Services and the Office of Budget and Management. They will have one year to create their report; after the report, the task force will cease to exist.

Neither DAS nor the state treasurer’s office has any idea how much underused property is currently out there; it’s only known how much property state agencies own.

The owner of the most acres of property is the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, with thousands of parks and preserves across the state totaling 448,658 acres. The Ohio Department of Transportation owns the most properties, more than 19,000 in total including thousands of road parcels and rights-of-way that are less than one-tenth of an acre apiece.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Women, supporters march in D.C., around America day after inauguration
Women, supporters march in D.C., around America day after inauguration

Two things became abundantly clear during a six hour span in the nation’s capital Saturday: Donald Trump begins his presidency facing a loud, raucous resistance, and that resistance is still figuring out how to tell its story. While hundreds of thousands descended on Washington, D.C. less than 24 hours after Trump was sworn in as president, the...
Some Springfield residents torn on income tax increase
Some Springfield residents torn on income tax increase

Springfield leaders say residents deserve another chance to vote to increase the local income tax after hundreds of thousands of dollars in cuts to city services, but some residents believe it’s unfair for residents to pay more. Voters narrowly rejected the income tax increase in November by about 200 votes. City commissioners voted this week...
Ohio key battleground in abortion fight
Ohio key battleground in abortion fight

Ohio is at the frontline in a battle over abortion rights that continues to rage on 44 years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Roe versus Wade . “I would argue, and we have the data to back this up, that Ohio and Texas are the key battleground states for the abortion debate. What happens in Ohio tends to trickle to other...
Local women in D.C. part of massive march
Local women in D.C. part of massive march

Hundreds of people from the Dayton region joined a massive Women’s March on Washington Saturday to speak out for women’s and human rights and against the conservative agenda of President Donald Trump. Millions also marched worldwide in sister marches, including one in Dayton. The crowd grew so large in Washington D.C. - more than half a...
New Carlisle seeks to fill empty council seat, welcomes new member
New Carlisle seeks to fill empty council seat, welcomes new member

The city of New Carlisle has a new city council member and will interview a handful of candidates to fill one more vacancy. The current opening is from the departure of former New Carlisle Mayor Lowell McGlothin, a longtime council member who won a race for Clark County commissioner in November. McGlothin had to resign his New Carlisle seat to take...
More Stories