DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Like ghosts from the past, they haunt a neighborhood’s future.
So, around much of Dayton, razing buildings means raising spirits.
“It’s been a long time coming,” says Karen Richey who was watching a house near her get demolished. “It should have been torn down years ago.”
That house is the one of the final homes in Dayton being torn down using Moving Ohio Forward money. The deadline to use the money was extended but Dayton doesn’t need the extra time.
“We are on schedule to have this completed by the end of the month,” says Planning and Community Development Director Aaron Sorrell.
The city’s quick work already earned it an extra $1 million from the state that it spent.
“That’s roughly an extra 20 or 30 houses,” Sorrell says.
In all, the city used the program to tear down about 600 homes.
“We are seeing vacancy rates improve in neighborhoods where we’ve taken targeted efforts for demolition,” Sorrell says.
Thousands of vacant homes remain. Across from that latest demolition is another vacant building.
So, we’re asking if the city will ever get all the vacant houses torn down.
“I think it will eventually occur,” Sorrell says. “It’s not an overnight solution to a problem that didn’t occur overnight. So we’re making in-roads.”
The city will get some extra federal funds for demolition starting this summer. They come with different rules that make them harder to use.
There is only one kind of red tape residents care about, the kind surrounding the demo sites.
“They’re making some progress but they’ve got a lot more to do,” Richey says.
The new Moving Ohio Forward deadline is September 30 but by having everything down by May 31 the city stands a better chance of getting any money left after that deadline.