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Village eyeing more vacant sites for demo

5/22/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

LAKEMORE — Lakemore officials are continuing their fight against blight in the village.

At the May 19 Council meeting, Mayor Rick Justice said a large number of nuisance properties still exist in the community.

However, he said additional abandoned and deteriorating homes would be torn down in the coming months with financial assistance through Summit County’s land bank — the Land Reutilization Corp. — that was established in June 2012 as a county-wide demolition program targeting abandoned properties.

The Moving Ohio Forward Grant program, a state program administered by each county, afforded Lakemore the opportunity to raze 17 blighted structures in 2013, Justice said.

“This was monumental for the village,” he said. “It improved neighborhoods and reduced crime.”

The grant program specifically provided Lakemore with $171,000 to demolish vacant homes, paving the way for more productive land in the village, Justice said.

“Our property tax base is residential homes,” he explained.

Thus, “vacant properties can’t remain in the village if we want to maintain our water system, roads and police and fire services,” Justice said.

The mayor thanked Council and village employees and volunteers for working together last year to make the demolitions possible.

“It took a lot of people to make this happen.” Justice said. “This has been a big blessing to the village.”

Also during the meeting, Council accepted the certificate of estimated property tax revenue from the Summit County Fiscal Office for a fire department tax levy renewal to go on the Nov. 4 General Election ballot. According to the resolution, Council desires to renew this levy for five years in the amount of 2.5 mills. Council is required to approve the requested certificate from the fiscal office estimating the property tax revenue generated from the five-year, 2.5-mill renewal levy for the fire department, the resolution states.

According to the certificate of estimated property tax revenue prepared by Summit County Fiscal Officer Kristen Scalise, the estimated property tax revenue that would be produced by the 2.5-mill levy — assuming the tax valuation of the subdivision remains constant throughout the life of the levy — is calculated to be $114,511 annually.

Councilman Chad Lance said the approved legislation is a step in the process to get the renewal on the ballot officially.

Council also heard the first reading of a resolution to authorize Justice, on behalf of the village, to advertise for bids and enter into an agreement with the lowest and best bidder, conditional upon funding through the Ohio Public Works Commission’s Small Government Program, for hydrant and water main valve replacement.

In other village business, Council President Laura Cochran said the annual Memorial Day Parade will take place May 26 at 1 p.m. The parade will commence at the Tri-County Plaza and travel along Canton Road and continue down Springfield Lake Road to follow along Main Street, she said. Some of the participants will remain at the Memorial Triangle for a brief program while others will continue to the former Edwin Shaw property, Cochran said.

The Fire Department’s annual pancake breakfast will take place prior to the parade, from 9 a.m. to noon, at the fire station, Lance said. He said the breakfast is free, but donations are appreciated to benefit the department.

Councilman Richard Cole said Lakemore United Methodist Church will sell refreshments along the parade route to help fund the Summer Fun Program for local children.

The next regular Council meeting will be June 2 at 7 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 1400 Main St.

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