Xenia tries new fix for empty buildings

Has the Xenia figured out a smart way to combat blight?

Staff writer Sharahn D. Boykin wrote a few days ago about a fairly new program the Greene County city is trying to convince owners of long-vacant commercial properties that it’s worth their while to fix up buildings that have gotten run-down. The city now requires those owners to register their buildings, to the tune of $400 for the first year, with that annual fee doubling each year. Property owners who renovate or occupy the building get a refund — or, if they don’t, are liable for a $6,400 fee annually after the fourth year.

Will the new law work? It’s too early to tell, but the city has 27 such buildings and is sending out invoices now. City Manager Brent Merriman said, “This is a fairly new concept, not just in Xenia, but in the Miami Valley region.” Should other local cities follow suit? Email rrollins@coxohio.com.

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