MOUNT VERNON — The committee for the 2009 Ohio Region 9 Neighborhood Stabilization Program met Monday afternoon in the public hearing room in the Knox County Commissioners offices. Representatives of concerned governmental entities and other agencies contributed to the discussion moderated and coordinated by Amy Shocken of CDC of Ohio Inc., a community development consultation firm.
The NSP is providing $116 million to the state for the redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed-upon homes and residential properties. Approximately $1.15 million of this amount has been designated for Region 9, consisting of Mount Vernon, Knox County and Richland County, but not the city of Mansfield. These funds can be used for residential development, providing affordable rental housing, demolishing dilapidated structures or providing lots to nonprofit organizations for building housing. All neighborhoods in the program must be documented as being primarily residential in the last 60 years.
All funds must either directly benefit households at 120 percent or less of the county median income, or in an area where at least 51 percent of the households have incomes less than 120 percent of the CMI.
A review of maps of foreclosed properties from the last quarter of 2008 and other data supported the decision to focus on the city of Shelby in northern Richland County and the Madison neighborhood of the Mansfield metropolitan area, which is not a part of the city of Mansfield politically.
The city of Mount Vernon identified target areas as the west and northwest areas of town. The Knox County targets will probably include Danville and South Vernon, although the Rich Hill area might be added if it appears there are enough potentially affected residences to make an impact. Shocken said that in her conversations with other towns in the region, Centerburg, Fredericktown and Bellville all declined consideration from the program.
Shocken said the state expects about 70 percent of the NSP funds to be used for property rehabilitation, while as much as 30 percent is liable to be used for demolition. Shocken has to post the region’s first draft application to the state Web site by Feb. 12, with final application being due at the end of the month. She asked area representatives to forward to her ideas about what they would like to accomplish in each area in terms of demolition and rehabilitation. All NSP funds will be awarded in the next year to two years, and must be spent by March 30, 2013.
Officials in attendance included Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis; Knox County Commissioners Allen Stockberger, Robert Wise and Teresa Bemiller; Dick Adair and Ted Stiffler of the Richland County Regional Planning Commission; Mount Vernon Auditor Terry Scott and Knox County Auditor Jonette Curry; Jason Booth of the Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority, Don Mitchell of Richland Fair Housing and Patrick Heydinger of Mansfield Metropolitan Housing; Steve Oster of Knox County MRDD and Meghan McNeil of The Main Place Inc.; David Randall of the Mansfield/Richland County Health Department; Leonard Dillon of the CCEDC Community Action Agency Inc.; Mount Vernon Safety-Service Director David Glass and Village of Lexington Administrator Randy Pore; and Shelby Finance Director Bob Lafferty, Shelby Project Coordinator Joe Gies and Shelby Zoning Inspector Phil Curren.