Razing interest: City considers applying for the demolition grant

With a list of buildings in need of being razed, Wapakoneta city administrators plan to seek state funds to help demolish the structures.

Wapakoneta Mayor Rodney Metz said the city is working with the county to obtain state funds through the Moving Ohio Forward Demolition grant program and to take advantage of $75 million in state funds available through the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

“The county brought to our attention that they don’t have anything that fits the program and they offered the grant applications to us and the city of St. Marys,” Metz said, noting Engineering Department Superintendent Mary Ruck could take the lead on the grant application process. “As far as administration goes, we have told her to go ahead and apply for the grant. At present we don’t have a list of homes which need to be razed, but we do have a list of homes that came to her to be demolished at the property owners’ request.”

Wapakoneta City Council members will consider the legislation for the first time at today’s meeting scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in council chambers.

Metz said city administrators want to participate in the program to improve the look of the city.

“Razing the homes helps clean up the neighborhoods and it gets rid of a non-productive property and also eliminates blight and potential health problems,” Metz told the Wapakoneta Daily News. “As far as upcoming ones, if the property owners cannot take care of them, don’t have the means to take care of them and it is impossible to renovate then it is better to take care of it and get rid of it.”

Metz said the city recently finished razing three houses which took longer than initially expected since each contained asbestos and it had to be abated prior to being demolished.

He said the city has no running list and the only ones on the list are those requested to be demolished by the property owner.

One of the properties on the list could be donated and become a “Habitat for Humanity” project home.

The mayor is unsure of how many of the homes are in foreclosure or cannot be rented because he said banks and mortgage lenders are not forthcoming with the overall numbers. He is aware of at least three residences he would place on the list during his drives through the city.

New ordinances to be considered by councilors include a revised ordinance for ambulance service for the G.A. Wintzer & Son facility on County Road 25A, an ordinance to revise rates and charges for water usage, an ordinance establishing job titles and pay ranges for non-collective bargaining unit employees of the city of Wapakoneta, and a resolution authorizing council to appoint the engineering superintendent to serve as the city’s representative to the Ohio Public Works Commission District 13 integrating committee.