Commissioners continue to rid county of eyesores


By Ryan Berry

GREENVILLE — The Darke County Commissioners are getting closer to finishing a project that is helping to clean up Darke County. The commission received $471,000 for demolition of properties that have become eye sores. The Ohio Department of Development funding is being used throughout the county.

On Tuesday, Commissioners Matt Aultman and Larry Holmes took another step towards completion of the project by approving a fund advance resolution that will cover the first payment for this portion of the project. Commissioner Marshal Combs was absent. According to Commissioner Aultman, 19 properties were identified to receive state funding for demolition. They have grouped the properties in several groups. The first group of houses have been completed and they are now working on a different group of houses. This payment is the first for this group of properties being demolished. The first payment is $41,500 and will be paid to Mikesell Excavating who was awarded the bid.

Once this group of properties is completed, the county will bid out the remaining properties. He suggested there were about five to seven houses, including some in the current group of houses being demolished, that needed to be torn down to complete the original 19 properties. They are hoping to have the demolition complete by mid-summer.

Thus far, most of the properties that have been torn down have been given the approval from the landowner. A couple of the upcoming houses will have some challenges due to needing to go through probate court. The landowner of one of the properties wants to turn the property over to the county and walk away.

There is a possibility the county can extend beyond 19 properties. Because the county has been efficient with funding, they believe they can demolish at least one more house. “We are so efficient on the tear down, what we estimated and what it took is quite a bit of difference in savings. They did it more efficiently than what we thought it would be,” said Aultman.

They are currently working with township trustees and others to build a list of additional properties, but they need to finish the original 19 before they can go back to the Department of Development and ask to use the funds for additional work. Some of the properties on the additional list could cause more of a challenge for the county with securing approval.

The county has until May 2024 to complete its projects.

Commissioners also approved a contract with Sunesis Construction Co. to rehabilitate the runway at the Darke County Airport. The contract price is $326,075. The majority of the funding for this project comes from a grant.

When asked if there are more plans for the airport after the current projects are completed, Aultman said, “There’s always a business plan to make that airport profitable. Me and Larry have been on that same page for a while. There’s always going to be projects out there. We’ve got a 10-year layout of plans on what we are planning on doing out there including a wildlife study, possible fencing, possibly more hangars, things like that. It all depends on the grant funding that is available. If you’re not building, you’re not growing. That’s development in general. I mean businesses and facilities, if you don’t have available space, you’re not attracting folks.” He added that in light of businesses, such as Intel, Honda and others that you want to be building so you are attractive to others.

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].

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