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Tearing Down Cleaning Up
By CATHERINE STORTZ RIPLEY
July 8, 2015

CAPTION: Chillicothe's demolition grant program is coming to a close with the last of the 37 houses having been razed. Among houses torn down was this large structure at 432 Washington Street.

The city of Chillicothe is in the final stages of removing the last of nearly 40 dilapidated houses - a demolition project that began last year and was made possible through Missouri's Community Development Block Grant program. Some structures were small and located along sparsely traveled roads. Others were large and highly visible along heavily traveled roads. All had been eyesores for several years. One of the last structures to be removed as part of this demolition project was a large vacant two-story house at 432 Washington Street. "It was the most expensive house we took down," said Tammi Venneman, Chillicothe's assistant code enforcement officer. The demolition price tag was $9,400. The property owners knew it was an eyesore, she said, and worked with the city each of the five times the city had applied for the competitive demolition grant funds. The city, however, kept getting turned down until last year. The Washington Street structure, which was near downtown, has been removed, and the city is now waiting for the ground to dry enough to plant grass. The seeding is planned to be completed this week, weather permitting.

In all, 37 houses were torn down. Most of the lots have been leveled and seeded; however, completion at a few properties has been delayed because of wet weather. Dick and Shirley Shannon live at the corner of Webster and Broadway streets. Within about a 10-day time span, two houses in their neighborhood were torn down. "We are excited to see them go," Dick Shannon said. "The whole neighborhood is excited because it is being cleaned up." Although the dilapidated structures were vacant of people, the houses had cats living in them and were neighborhood eyesores, Shannon said. In addition to the two houses razed as part of the demolition grant, another structure - that of a nearby apartment building - was recently razed following a fire earlier this year. The demolition grant is improving the appearance of Chillicothe, Shannon said. "It's not just my area," Shannon said. "A lot of neighborhoods are looking better now. I'm glad the city is doing it."

This current grant, in the amount of $125,000, was the first demolition grant the city received in approximately 10 years. Through the program, houses must meet certain requirements to be considered for demolition, including that they were vacant for at least a year prior to the grant application and the cost of rehabilitating the house would be more than demolition, Venneman said. Additionally, the property owners are required to provide $500 toward the demolition of their properties. As part of the grant requirement, the city provides inspections, and seeding and mulching of the sites.

The housing demolition program appeals to not only property owners, but to the city as well. "It's a public safety issue," said City Administrator Ike Holland. "First, these houses are a danger to the community; and, secondly, we look at property values... keeping communities safe and liveable. When you have homes like this, it detracts from people buying homes." Removing the dilapidated structures restores value in neighborhoods, Holland said. And, restoring value can portray a positive message, according to Mayor Chuck Haney. "It presents examples to those around them and to visitors that we are trying to make our city a clean city; do your part to clean up and fix up your homes and property and keep it in proper order," he said. "It makes the city better, brighter and cleaner."

The city selected the worst houses to tear down and worked with the property owners to make it happen. Although 37 houses were razed as a result of the grant, there are instances where people have purchased dilapidated houses and tore them down themselves. Once identified, owners of property in violation of city codes go through an administrative hearing. If they don't make progress in making repairs, then the case could go to court where a judge could administer fines and order repairs to be made within a certain period of time. Sometimes, those property owners opt for selling their property rather than making the repairs. The city administrator estimates that around 25 houses in the city are on the city's list that are under consideration to go through the court system or make repairs. Holland stated that the city would reapply for demolition grant funds at the next opportunity. He said some members of the City Council want to set aside funds from the budget each year for demolition of dilapidated houses.

City to Raze 16 Vacant Houses
By Catherine Stortz Ripley, CT 
April 14, 2015

The second phase of the city's housing demolition project, funded largely by a Community Development Block Grant, is advancing. On Monday evening, April 13, 2015, the Chillicothe City Council approved bids from two companies to do the work. Phase 2 includes the razing of 16 old houses. The council approved bids from Red Rock of Kidder (the company that completed the first phase) and Truitts Dirt Works of Linneus. The demolition project was bid with each structure listed separately. The Council selected the lowest and best bids for each structure. Red Rock and Truitts Dirt Works will each take down eight structures. Red Rock's bid totaled $43,945, and Truitt's bid totaled $33,435. The first wave of the demolition project involved the removal of 21 structures. The total project cost for the removal of all 37 houses is $220,721. Grant funds cover $125,000, while the property owners are responsible for $500 per structure ($18,500 for all 37 houses). The city's cash portion is $77,221, which includes an additional $38,000 that was approved Monday evening from the city's demolition fund. Bids had come in higher than anticipated; therefore, the city approved the additional $38,000 from the city's demolition fund rather than cut the scope of the project. In addition to cash, the city also is providing in-kind labor which includes inspections and the seeding of lots after the structures have been removed. Structures on the demolition list: 416 Vine, 118 Webster, 736 Missouri, 422 Vine, 424 Cowgill, 910 Maple, 432 Washington; 312 Third Street, 210 Third Street, 201 Third Street, 113 Trenton Road, 20 Webster Street, 603 Missouri, 207 Cherry, 1003 Jackson.

First Wave of Housing Demolitions Nears Completion
Catherine Storz Ripley 
December 4, 2014

CAPTION: Demolition crews are in the process of razing a house at 918 Calhoun Street - the last house in the first round of demolitions for the city's $125,000 block grant. The first round involves taking down 21 dilapidated houses in the city. The next wave of houses to be razed involves the removal of 20 houses and will start in early 2015.


PHOTO: Catherine Stortz Ripley

The city of Chillicothe is in the final stages of removing 21 dilapidated houses, the last of the first wave of 41 house demolitions made possible through a $125,000 Community Development Block Grant that was awarded to the city. A second wave of demolition is expected after the first of the year and will involve razing 20 houses. The first wave of house demolitions began October 27 and is expected to be completed by December 25, although the contractor, Red Rock, is ahead of schedule. The company is in the process of razing the last house, which is located at 918 Calhoun Street. The company; however, has yet to fill in holes where basements have been at 915 Walnut Street and 1007 Normal Street. The city will seed and mulch the lots in spring.

The houses that are being removed as part of the first wave are located at: 436 Jackson, 20 Clay, 910 Woodward, 1016 Clay, 410 Third, 230 Madison, 525 E Bridge, 505 Cowgill, 517 Cowgill, 503 Cowgill, 423 Cowgill, 427 Cowgill, 734 Missouri, 516 Graves, 918 Calhoun, 915 Walnut, 1115 Locust, 907 Easton, 1005 Normal, 1024 Broadway, 1114 B Monroe. The grant covers the demolition of 41 structures and was the largest grant the city could have received.

Houses needed to meet certain requirements to be considered for the project, including that they were vacant for at least a year prior to the grant application and the cost of rehabilitating the house would be more than demolition, according to Tammi Venneman, Chillicothe's assistant code enforcement officer. Additionally, the property owners are required to provide $500 toward the demolition of their properties. There are approximately 30 different property owners who agreed to the demolition, and each property had varying problem areas. Venneman said the trailer houses on the demolition list, of which most were located on Cowgill Street, had significant deterioration where "everything was rotting." House structures had multiple problems as well, with most having foundations and/or roofs falling in. Most structures on the demolition list are in Chillicothe's Third Ward; however, each ward has at least between two and five properties being removed.

While this demolition projects takes care of many dilapidated houses, many still remain. "There are several more throughout the city, but it will be up to the homeowners to take care of them," Venneman said. Most properties on the list are houses and around six are trailer houses.

The city recently awarded an asbestos abatement bid to 24-7 Enviro for the remaining 20 houses. Venneman said that demolition bids should go out in early 2015. As part of the grant requirement, the city will provide inspections, and seeding and mulching of the sites in the spring. Debris from the demolition project is being hauled to a Kansas landfill.

Dilapidated Structures to be Razed in City
August 26, 2014

The demolition of 21 dilapidated houses will begin this fall. Council members approved a contract with Red Rock for building demolition in the amount of $78,000. Of the five bids submitted, three companies bid on every structure, while two bid on individual structures. Green Hills Regional Planning Commission is the grant administrator for this project. It is being funded through a Community Development Block Grant, cash funds, and in-kind work by the city, and private property owners participating in the demolition by paying $500. Work is likely to begin by mid-September, 2014. The asbestos abatement contractor is currently in Chillicothe removing asbestos from 12 of the houses on the list. Because the project is demolition only, contractors are not required to pay prevailing wage. Houses on the list are: 915 Walnut, 436 Jackson, 20 Clay, 910 Woodward, 1115 Locust, 1016 Clay, 1114B Monroe, 410 Third, 907 Easton, 1005 Normal, 230 Madison, 525 East Bridge, 505 Cowgill, 517 Cowgill, 423 Cowgill, 427 Cowgill, 1024 Broadway, 734 Missouri, 918 Calhoun, 516 Graves.

City Council Meeting July 28, 2014 (Excerpt): Chillicothe City Council members on Monday evening approved bids for asbestos abatement of dilapidated structures within the city that are slated to be razed later this year. The asbestos abatement is part of a demolition grant which the city had received. Three bids were submitted, and the successful bidder was Forefront Environmental Services in the amount of $20,750. Although the lowest bid, the amount was more than double what was anticipated because it was unknown at the time how many structures had the presence of asbestos. Seven houses had asbestos containing insulation on their pipes, and one structure had a slate roof. At this time, it is unknown how many structures will be removed; however, the city anticipates somewhere around 21. The bid for demolishing the structures is expected to be awarded at the end of August. After notifying the Department of Natural Resources, the contractor will then be given the notice to proceed.

City Council Meeting July 14, 2014 (Excerpt): Mayor Chuck Haney said that 12 of the 40 houses targeted for demolition through grant funds have asbestos. Bids for asbestos abatement are due July 21, 2014, and once received, the city can move forward with the demolition project. Because of the asbestos abatement expenses, the number of houses that actually will be razed could change.

City Demolition Project Advances: Potential Conflicts of Interest to be Determined for City Project
By CALLI PRICE
February 11, 2014


C-T Photo / Courtnie Cranmer

CAPTION: The above trailers, located on Cowgill, are a few of the properties to be demolished under the Chillicothe demolition project. Once it has been determined that no conflict of interest exists for the properties, phase two of the demolition project will commence. The city, with assistance from a Community Development Block Grant, plans to demolish approximately 40 structures this year.

A discussion of the beginning phases of the demolition project in Chillicothe took place at the regular bi-monthly Chillicothe City Council meeting Monday evening, February 10, 2014. Assistant City Codes Enforcement Officer Tammi Venneman and Ann Hamilton, of Green Hills Regional Planning Commission, appeared before the council to provide updates on the first phase of the project. Hamilton said that between 25 and 30 consent forms have been signed already and they are going through with environmental checks on the properties. Once environmental checks are complete, they can only move on to the second phase of the project once they have assured that none of the property demolitions will result in a conflict of interest. The council will have to check with the state to determine the requirements for how deep they will need to check to determine conflicts of interest. After the council checks with the state, the issue will be brought to another meeting to be discussed.


C-T Photo / Courtnie Cranmer 

CAPTION: The demolition project for the city of Chillicothe is underway. Homes are currently being inspected. Once all homes have been inspected, and once it has been established that no conflicts of interest exist for the properties that are to be demolished, phase two of the demolition project will begin.

City Awarded $125k Grant
41 Dilapidated Houses to be Demolished

By CATHERINE STORTZ RIPLEY
November 15, 2013

Chillicothe's efforts to remove some of the most dilapidated structures throughout the city got a significant boost with the awarding of a $125,000 grant. The funding, approved as a Community Development Block Grant, will be used to demolish 41 dilapidated residential structures in Chillicothe. This was the city's fourth attempt at securing grant funds, being unsuccessful the three previous times.

Mayor Chuck Haney said the city is excited to get started on this project. "We will be getting rid of 41 homes that are eyesores, and it will increase property values for neighbors around those homes," Haney said. "It is a true asset for our city."

The city has been addressing the issue of dilapidated houses for several years, having removed nine structures just this year. Through the demolition program, participating property owners will pay $500 for the demolition. The city will match that amount as well as provide in-kind services of completing necessary paperwork, inspecting the properties, and disconnecting utilities. Grant money will fund whatever costs remain.

City Codes Enforcement Officer Tammi Venneman said the list of properties includes structures in every ward of the city.

In order to qualify for the grant, the properties must have been dilapidated and unoccupied for at least a year. Venneman said aside from these 41 properties, there are approximately 30 other structures that could be considered dilapidated or in need of extensive work.

Applications for consent soon will be sent to the owners of the 41 targeted properties and the city will begin collecting the $500 homeowner fees. All homeowners will retain ownership of the property. Work is expected to begin after the first of the year with asbestos testing and asbestos abatement. The city has three years to complete the demolition.

Venneman said that it is important for homeowners to keep the structures' doors and windows in place for public safety. She urges property owners to remove items they need and may be storing in the structures as soon as possible.

The Codes Department will be taking bids for the demolition of these properties. For additional information, contact City Hall at (660) 646-5635.

Excerpt Council Meeting May 13, 2013... The council approved an ordinance accepting the lowest bid of Red Rock of Hamilton, MO, for the demolition of several residential buildings. The buildings include those at 634 Missouri Avenue, 211 3rd Street, 1113 Locust Street, and 215 Wise Street. Deshayes recommended Rec Rock to the council, who's bid was less than half of the bid submitted by American Pride Hauling LLC of Centertown, MO.

The council also approved an ordinance authorizing the Mayor and City Clerk to execute all documents related to the Community Development Block Grant Program associated with the 2013 Housing Demolition Grant for the city.

City Discusses Demolition Grant
CT May 2, 2013

Chillicothe City Council members on Monday, April 29, 2013, moved ahead with the approval of documents related to the city's application for demolition grant funds. The city is applying for a grant to help raze dozens of dilapidated and vacant residential structures. On Monday, the council approved several measures related to the project, contingent upon grant approval. If approved, the city would contract with Green Hills Regional Planning Commission of Trenton to serve as the grant administrator. The city would also contract with Linville Inspection Services of Richmond to provide asbestos inspections, and with Allstate Environmental, LLC, of Kansas City to provide asbestos abatement services. In relation to the project, the city also committed, contingent upon grant approval, $38,839 in cash, and $46,116 of in-kind services.

City Seeks Grant to Demolish 46 Dilapidated, Vacant Structures
March 27, 2013 CT

Forty-six of the 68 structures identified as being uninhabited and failing to meet city codes are targeted for demolition. The city of Chillicothe is applying for grant money to help raze the structures.

Council members, during their regular meeting Monday evening, considered three proposals of target areas, and settled on the proposal that involved the demolition of the most structures. This particular proposal would eliminate all the structures failing to meet code in the Second and Third wards, one from the Fourth Ward, and three from the First Ward.

The properties on the list were identified for the council members, but not made public. The city is now seeking consent from the property owners to proceed with demolition, if the grant is approved. It was noted that signed consent forms likely would increase the chances for the city to be awarded the grant. After identifying the target area, the council passed resolutions related to the grant application.

A public hearing is scheduled for April 11 to discuss the city's grant application. As part of the hearing process, citizens will be asked to verbally assist in the completion of a needs assessment document. The document will detail what the residents feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the community. The city needs as much local participation as possible in order to reflect the true desires of the community as a whole, as well as the comments relating to the proposed project application.

The city is proposing a neighborhood development project which will address the demolition of vacant/dilapidated structures within the city limits. All citizens are encouraged to attend in order to comment on the proposed activities.

The city has set aside $38,839 to be used for demolition. In order to address the proposed target area, it is estimated that the city's local match would increase by $100.

One optional target area would encompass 27 structures in an area bounded by Third Street, McNally, 11th and Woodward. This proposal would not require additional cash.

The other optional target area included 37 structures and would remove all the structures violating code in Wards one, two and four, as well as nine from the Third Ward. This proposal was estimated to require an additional $1,461 from the city.

Following the hearing, the application will be submitted. A decision is expected by May 15, with notification being given sometime in fall.

68 Residential Structures Fail to Meet City Code
March 13, 2013

Sixty-eight residential structures in Chillicothe fail to meet city codes and are on a preliminary list for possible demolition. All of the identified structures have been unoccupied for at least a year.

Officials are now trying to identify a target area as part of its plan to apply for grant funding to assist with taking down some of the structures.

The total cost to demolish all 68 is estimated at $362,208 with the maximum grant amount possible, if approved, at $125,000. The city has identified nearly $39,000 that could be used for demolition, which is not enough to take down all of the structures.

The list, as presented to Chillicothe City Council members during their regular meeting Monday evening, identifies 10 structures in the First Ward, two in the Second Ward, 40 in the Third Ward, and 16 in the Fourth Ward. It was noted that the Third Ward is the oldest part of town.

The scope of the project, contingent upon grant funds, is expected to be identified by the time the city files its grant application in spring.

City Seeks Grant for Housing Demolition
February 12, 2013

The city of Chillicothe hopes that the fourth time will be the charm in its effort to obtain grant funding to help rid the community of vacant and dilapidated houses. An estimated 60 structures within the city have been identified as needing demolition or repair, and up to $125,000 is available through a competitive application process with the Community Development Block Grant Program.

City Council members, during their regular meeting Monday evening, voted to pursue the application. Specific dollar amounts and a complete list of the residential structures that would qualify have yet to be identified. "We have them in every ward," Mayor Chuck Haney said about dilapidated houses.

The city has established $500 per residential structure as the homeowner fee required to participate in this year's grant. If the grant is received, the city would provide in-kind services of disconnecting electric utilities, finish the grade lot, seed and mulch the lot, and perform housing inspections.

No commercial structures are on the list as of this time.

The city is in the process of identifying structures based on last year's list, according to Tammi Venneman, code enforcement officer. Some structures on that list, however, either have been removed or repaired. The top 10 worst structures have already been addressed by the city.

Anyone wanting to have structures considered for the list should contact the city's codes office at 646-5636 by Friday, February 15.

City Denied Demo Grant
CT Wednesday, 08/29/12

The City of Chillicothe learned last Friday that it had been turned down in its application for a residential demolition grant in the amount of $125,000. "It is with great disappointment that I received notice that our city was denied its most recent application for a demolition grant," said Mayor Chuck Haney in an announcement made to the members of the city council at its Monday night meeting.

The letter that Mayor Haney received from the Department of Economic Development noted that Chillicothe did not achieve a sufficient score to warrant recommendation of funding. "There were some things we were notified on the day that we took the tour this past summer, but never knew about them until the day of the tour," said Haney. "It is very difficult to correct something that may be wrong if you don't know what it is." Tammi Venneman, assistant code enforcement officer, said the city lost points on the score sheet on things they were never made aware of.

The city had compiled a list of more than 60 homes that were on the demo list and also had a top 10 list that needed immediate attention. The city could look at doing their own grant application if they decide to again apply for a third time. Chillicothe is already moving forward for the demolition of some homes as well as seeking support from residential owners in turning their property over to the city and the city would do the demolition after taking ownership of the private property.

It is the intent of this mayor and council that we continue to work hard to clean up our city and to set aside our own funding for such work, said Haney.

61 Houses on Demolition List
May 15, 2012 CT

The city of Chillicothe is seeking grant funds to help pay for the demolition of up to 61 vacant and deteriorating houses, thus eliminating some safety hazards and community eyesores. City officials signed the necessary paperwork Monday evening, May 14, 2012, to proceed with the Community Development Block Grant application. If its funding request is completely fulfilled, the city could provide in-kind services amounting to around $46,000, and cash of $126,345, to remove the structures. The grant also requires property owners to pay $500 toward the demolition costs. Total project costs, including the grant funding, would amount to nearly $330,000.

The 61 structures were placed on the list of potential properties to be demolished because they may have collapsing roofs, foundation problems, windows missing and other conditions that make the structures unsafe, according to City Administrator Ike Holland. All of the 61 houses identified for possible demolition have been vacant for at least a year, said Tammy Venneman, assistant code enforcement officer. Some of the structures on the list are being addressed administratively through the nuisance courts; however, some property owners are unable to pay for necessary improvements.

Notification of the grant award is anticipated in October; however, the city plans to move forward in the near future to remove the worst structures. Holland said that he would like to see demolition of the worst houses within the next month or two. The city applied for a similar grant last year to raze uninhabitable structures, including the old Leeper hotel building in downtown, but was not awarded funding. The city, however, proceeded this year to fund the Leeper's demolition, which is already taking place.

The grant application was among several items discussed during the council's regular meeting Monday evening at City Hall. After considerable discussion, primarily involving the way bid specs were written, the city awarded Chip Webb Construction the bid for replacing the Danner Park maintenance building. The structure was substantially damaged by fire last year. Chip Webb Construction submitted the low bid at $35,962. Because there had been several delays before the city awarded the contract, the contractor said he would be unable to start on the project until the end of July.

City Targets Vacant Houses for Demolition
April 24, 2012

The city of Chillicothe is moving forward with plans to tear down unoccupied dilapidated houses that are not only eyesores in community neighborhoods, but structures that pose safety threats. From a list of around 60 addresses, the city has identified the 10 worst, and plans to move forward with their removal. Many of the structures remaining on the list will be placed on the city's application for a community development block grant that, if approved, would financially assist with the city with demolition.

Chillicothe City Council members on Monday evening, April 23, 2012, conducted a workshop meeting dedicated solely to the discussion of housing demolition. They reviewed the list and were in general agreement to proceed with the grant application, and to also move forward in taking down the 10 worst houses. These would be ones that are identified as having irreparable foundation, roof and wall problems.

During the regular council meeting, which followed the workshop, the council approved several ordinances and resolutions dealing with the CDBG demolition grant application. Among those, were ordinances establishing housing demolition grant guidelines, compliance with OSHA requirements, and authorizing the mayor and city clerk to execute documents related to the grant. Resolutions approved stated the intent to seek funding, attention to residential anti-displacement and relocation assistance plan, and information regarding excessive force in the process. The grant is similar to the one which the city applied for last year but was not approved for funding.

City Pursues Grant to Raze Dilapidated Structures
April 10, 2012 CT

The city of Chillicothe will, once again, pursue grant funds to assist property owners in tearing down dilapidated homes. The council gave approval for the city to apply for funds through the Community Development Block Grant program. The city had applied for CDBG funds last year and, although ranking high in the selection process, the city was denied the funding.

City Clerk Roze Frampton said that Chillicothe's chances for funding this year may increase because the city has already set aside complete funds for tearing down the Leeper hotel building (which was a big dollar item in last year's grant application), and is being proactive in addressing some of the worst dilapidated structures on its own. The city has $129,000 set aside this year for demolition projects. Around 40 homes were listed as being eligible for demolition last year. A workshop will be held in the coming weeks to discuss how to pursue plans for demolishing deteriorating structures.

In action related to the CDBG grant application, the council agreed to set the participation fee at $500, which is the same amount as last year's fee, for residents wishing to participate in the grant program. According to the ordinance, the city will match the $500 per residential structure paid by the homeowner to participate in the CDBG program. If approved, the grant would fund the remainder of the demolition costs. The city plans to set the fee at 20 percent of demolition cost per commercial structure as the property owner's fee required to participate in the grant program. The city would perform in-kind work, including disconnecting electric utilities, grading the lots, seeding and mulching the lot, and performing housing inspections.

The deadline to apply for the CDBG grant is May 15.

City Denied Demo Grant
11 16 11

The city of Chillicothe's hope to receive a $300,000 grant to demolish more than 40 dilapidated, vacant residential homes throughout the city (and the old Leeper hotel building) vanished after officials received notification that the city's application had been denied.

Notification came from the Department of Economic Development last week, stating that the city's application did not achieve a sufficient score to warrant recommendation of funding. The application was submitted last spring with 46 properties (including the old Leeper building) identified as being in need of demolition.

The total project cost of demolition was estimated at $474,506. If approved, the grant would have paid $300,000, the homeowners would have paid $21,500 (at a rate of $500 per structure), with the city paying the remaining cost of $153,006. The city's share would have been broken down into $117,225 in cash and $35,781 of in-kind labor.

Chillicothe Mayor Chuck Haney said he was disappointed that the city's application was denied and said that the city planned to look into other options for taking care of some of the city's dilapidated structures. The city's current budget has set aside $200,000 for the demolition of the Leeper building.

Grant Would Help Clean Town
By Catherine Stortz Ripley, Constitution-Tribune
April 27, 2011


C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

CAPTION: Dilapidated structures, such as this one on the north side of Third Street, would be demolished if the city of Chillicothe is awarded a $300,000 grant. The demolition project calls for razing around 46 vacant residential structures throughout town.

The city of Chillicothe hopes to receive a $300,000 grant that would help demolish more than 40 dilapidated vacant residential homes throughout the city and the old Leeper hotel building. Chillicothe City Council members on Monday approved the necessary paperwork to proceed on the grant application with assistance from Green Hills Regional Planning Commission.

Forty-five residential structures and one commercial structure (the old Leeper hotel building at the northwest corner of Washington and Clay streets) are included in the grant application. Of the 46 total properties, the city has secured 44 signed consent forms from the property owners and the remaining two were expected by the end of this week.

The total project cost of demolition is estimated at $474,506. If approved, the grant would pay $300,000, the homeowners would pay $21,500 (at a rate of $500 per structure), with the city paying the remaining cost of $153,006. The city’s share would be broken down into $117,225 in cash and $35,781 of in-kind labor.

City Engineer Ron Urton said he expected notification of the grant award in September or October. Structures must have been vacant for one year prior to demolition in order to have been considered for grant funding. The structures not only create neighborhood eyesores but also present potential hazards.

If the grant does not materialize for Chillicothe, the next course of action could be for the city to send letters to the property owners stating that they need to either rehabilitate their structures or demolish them. If the property owners fail to comply, then the city could take legal action by having the city condemn the property and the city pay the full cost of demolition. The costs, then, could be attached to the property and must be paid with property taxes. The cost of demolition for an average residential structure is between $5,000 and $6,000, Urton said.

If the grant is approved, grant funds would pay for 80 percent of the demolition cost for the Leeper hotel building, with the city (which owns the building) paying 20 percent. The total demolition cost is estimated at $175,000 and the city’s portion would be $35,000.

The city's in-kind segment of the demolition project involves the disconnection of electric lines and inspections as well as the seeding and mulching of the properties after the structures are removed.

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