COLUMBUS (WCMH) — One community in Ohio is using taxpayers’ dollars to give neighborhoods a facelift, and the way they’re doing it could make money. It’s happening in Franklin Township in the Columbus area. The township is noting condemned, vacant, or blighted properties, taking ownership of them, tearing them down and then selling the land for profit.
The most recent home acquired by the township is on Tedco Drive in Franklin Township. The home has been vacant for more than a year and the township has been getting complaints about it for years as it falls into disrepair. It’s not only an eye-sore but it lowers property values for surrounding homes.
The plan was started by administrative assistant Melissa Schopp, “I don’t want anyone to drive down any street and say, ‘Why is that house still here?’” Schopp said. Schopp said blighted homes are the number one complaint the township gets, “This house has been empty for ten years, the owner is not alive anymore, etc,” Schopp added.
So far the Township has acquired three properties and spent about $10 thousand tax dollars taking them down using their own crews.
“We will recoup those funds by turning around and selling those properties,” Schopp said. Taking down these homes improves property values, and any surplus in funds goes back into the general fund, “That’s revenue for the township.”
This is not uncommon but it is a first for the small township of about 10,000 people.
“That’s the number one goal we are working on now is abandoned or nuisance houses, “Dan Cook a Franklin Township Trustee said.
The township has about 24 properties currently on their list, they hope to keep going until it’s all done,
“Our goal is to make Franklin Township a place you want to come to,” Schopp said.
In tonight’s You Paid for it on NBC 4 at 6, Mark Taylor explores what your tax dollars have been spent on so far and show you how you can track it all.