East Liverpool seeking problem properties to add to land bank list

Morning Journal/ Stephanie Ujhelyi East Liverpool Housing Inspector Bob Smith secures notices to the door of a Dresden Avenue home, where its residents were asked to leave due to it being “unfit for human habitation.”

EAS LIVERPOOL The Columbiana County Land Bank was on hand during Monday’s East Liverpool council meeting to ask for the city’s help.

Director Robert Ritchie explained that the county Land Bank had razed more than 188 homes within East Liverpool, Wellsville and Salem through the state’s Neighborhood Initiative Program (NIP). The funding is set to dry up in December, but he would like to continue his efforts.

Thus, he is looking to city residents and their councilmembers for help.

Under House Bill 252, Ritchey explained that a $50 million fund in Ohio to help land banks clean up blighted buildings, including old industrial and commercial properties. He would like to get some of that money for Columbiana County, and he specifically asked if the city could provide additional photos and information about problem properties to demonstrate its need by the end of October.

City Housing Inspector Bob Smith told council and Ritchey that he has 1,700 photos in his phone of problem properties. “You have to get off the beaten path,” he advised councilmembers who are assisting with the project.

For example, he explained that the problem is that some properties have been long neglected and are now literally falling down. Smith told of how a house on 9th Street that was supposed to be torn down in 2011, but instead recently a wall just collapsed. “It is all pretty troublesome.”

Second Ward Councilman C. Fred Rayl told Smith, “You would be an useful tool for what the land bank needs.”

Email photos, lot size info, addresses and details to the city Planning Department at planning@eastliverpool. com with daytime contact information.