PUTNAM COUNTY - Using funds from the Moving Ohio Forward demolition grant program, Putnam County is nearly finished removing 12 structures classified as blighted residential structures.

The program was launched last year by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to assist communities in their economic recovery by removing blighted or abandoned structures.

Seventy-five million dollars was allocated among all of the Ohio counties to achieve the maximum number of removal demolitions or abanded residential structures. Putnam County received $90,230 from the grant.

Cindy Landwehr, Putnam County's grants coordinator, said villages and townships were asked to submit properties that may qualify for the demolition. She said the property owner had to consent to the demolition. The submissions were reviewed and 12 properties were put on the list for demolition.

This included four properties in Belmore, two in Dupont, one in Continental, three in Ottawa, one in rural Miller City and one in rural Cloverdale.

"Each project was put up for bid," Landwehr said. Also put up for bid was the required asbestos sampling on all properties and the asbestos removal on three properties.

Three different contractors including Gerdeman Excavating, Go Green LLC, and DNN Holdings were awarded the bids for the different demolition projects. On Tuesday, the Putnam County Commissioners approved agreements totalling $62,094 to the three contractors for demolition of 11 of the 12 projects.

Landwehr said only one demolition, a home in rural Cloverdale, has not yet been put up for bid.

The commissioners also approved a bill from DMD Enviromental Services of $1,550 for the asbestos sampling, and $5,210 for the asbestos removal in three of the homes that were demolished.The asbestos removal was done by H & H Environmental and Total Environmental.

Landwehr said there will also be some administrative costs for doing the project.

Ohio Attorney General DeWine announced this week that his Demolition Grant Program has surpassed 6,000 properties demolished. DeWine provided an update on the program as part of a keynote address at a neighborhood revitalization conference in Columbus, "Revitalizing Ohio's Vacant Properties: Tools and Policies to Transform Communities," sponsored by the Greater Ohio Policy Center and Thriving Communities Institute.

"The foreclosure crisis is not just about losing homes; it's about losing entire communities," said Attorney General DeWine. "By tearing down houses, we are building neighborhoods. We are opening up land to stop the decline in property values, stimulate many types of economic development, and help our neighborhoods grow and prosper."