Clark County land bank get $250K line of credit increase

The Clark County land bank will receive a $250,000 line of credit increase to fight blight.

Clark County commissioners unanimously approved Wednesday an increase in the line of credit for the Clark County Land Re-utilization Corp., which will soon receive a share of Ohio’s $97.6 million in additional federal funding to fight the effects of foreclosures.

The land bank previously had a $150,000 line of credit, Clark County Treasurer and land bank Chairman Stephen Metzger said.

County Commissioner David Herier, who is also the land bank vice chairman, said county officials approved the increase to allow the land bank to use the money to demolish and rehabilitate more vacant and abandoned properties and then get reimbursed.

“The way it works out is that it doesn’t end up being a cost to the county. It’s money that we’re using that’s from the federal government,” Herier said.

The land bank has already identified dozens of properties, Herier said, and has been working to demolish or salvage them. It has more targeted.

The line of credit allows the land bank to be able to “continue to do these projects where we’re reimbursed on the back-end of them, instead of having the money from the get go,” Herier said.

Since 2010, the federal Hardest Hit Fund has awarded more than $570 million to Ohio and helped more than more than 24,500 Ohioans, according to U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

The state is also eligible to receive an additional $250 million to help communities that were devastated by the foreclosure crisis.

The Clark County Land Re-utilization Corp. received $1.18 million in 2013 when the state got $60 million from a similar program.

Brown, who serves as ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, said getting rid of abandoned properties “helps to strengthen neighborhoods and reduce crime.” Both he and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, argued in support of securing $2 billion for the Hardest Hit Fund last year as part of a government funding bill.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency hasn’t been given directions on how the money will be divided, said Molly Moses, agency spokeswoman.

Agency leaders hope to learn more details sometime this month, she said.

Whenever the land bank borrows money from the line of credit to work on properties, Metzger said that money will be paid back when land bank officials get the grant funds.