MOUNT VERNON — Downtown managers, Heritage Centre Association personnel and others from cities around the state converged in Mount Vernon on Wednesday for the start of a two-day seminar and brainstorming sessions on how to revitalize downtown areas.
Wednesday morning’s session, led by an attorney, featured the legal approach to nuisance property.
After lunch the focus was on vacant property. Alison Goebel, associate director of Greater Ohio Policy Center, discussed vacant property, the costs associated with vacant property and outlined some suggestions for mitigating the vacant and abandoned property crisis in Ohio.
Goebel said revitalizing and regenerating growth in a downtown community is important because it has a ripple effect throughout the city and the surrounding areas, too. “A healthy community equals a healthy economy,” she said. A 2008 study of eight Ohio cities — including Cleveland and Lima — found that vacant properties in those areas cost taxpayers $15 million in city service expenses and $49 million in lost property taxes which would have gone to support local governments and school districts.
Business vacancies in smaller cities such as Mount Vernon are also problematic, said Goebel, with 18 percent vacancies the norm. Vacant residential properties, she said, typically result in $1 million in lost taxes.
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