LORAIN, Ohio - The city of Lorain is committed to taking down condemned homes that can't be saved. Mayor Chase Ritenauer launched a massive demolition program, that started with 4 homes taken down in less than an hour, by multiple wrecking crews.
"Today is huge. We fought long and hard for this when I took office in January of 2012," said Ritenauer. "Today, these houses are coming down with the help of county land bank funding."
Ritenauer hopes 200 homes will be taken down in Lorain County by the end of the year, using funds issued by the Ohio Attorney General and dollars collected through delinquent tax penalties.
In February 2012, Attorney General Mike DeWine pledged $75 million from Ohio's portion of the massive mortgage settlement to put toward demolition condemned homes across Ohio.
Lorain County Commissioners were present for the start of the year long demolition effort.
"The revitalization of Lorain is dependent upon getting these blighted structures torn down, and giving these neighborhoods a chance to rebuild themselves," said commissioner Ted Kalo.
Lorain County Commissioners pointed to a dramatic number of home foreclosures as the leading reason why there are so many vacant homes in Lorain and Elyria.
"The tons of foreclosures we faced, we've been hit a little harder than other areas," said commissioner Lori Kokoski. "Demolition is one of the tools in our tool box to try and remedy that problem."
The commissioners urged residents to report condemned homes to their city hall in an effort to move nuisance properties to progress.
"First thing to do is to contact your city council member and let them know about it," said commissioner Tom Williams. "If you don't get any results, then you can contact the commissioner's office."
Meanwhile, NewsChannel5 is trying to encourage residents to report vacant homes and promote better neighborhood communication when it comes to dealing with condemned properties.
We're inviting residents to report nuisance properties through our Building Better Neighborhoods initiative. Just send us pictures and information on vacant homes in your neighborhood and we'll forward the information to your city building department in an effort to move the properties to progress.
We are also giving residents information on how they can volunteer in their neighborhoods to make them better. Those interested in starting a volunteer effort in their neighborhood should contact Hands on Northeast Ohio.
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