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Hamilton Co. is about to demolish a lot of blighted buildings thanks to funds from the state

435 elm
Bill Rinehart
/
WVXU
435 Elm Street is one of more than 50 properties that will be demolished and remediated.

A number of high-profile blighted properties throughout Hamilton County will be demolished and remediated with the help of $17 million in state grants awarded to The Port.

The economic development agency says the money — the most given to any county in the state — will go toward more than 50 demolition projects large and small.

Those projects through The Port's Hamilton County Landbank include 435 Elm Street, a vacant building across the street from Duke Energy Convention Center that is seen as a key part of a convention district envisioned by city and county officials. That building was also at the center of former Cincinnati City Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld's public corruption trial.

Efforts to re-envision the vacant former YMCA building in Lincoln Heights will get a boost from the grants as well. Those efforts also recently received money from Hamilton County commissioners.

Another high-profile project involves the demolition of a building on UC Health's Uptown campus called Greenwood Hall that has been vacant for a decade.

Other projects will involve significant environmental remediation efforts, including tearing down two blighted motels along Reading Road in Sycamore Township and final removal of partially demolished silos on Beekman Street along the Mill Creek. The latter is part of a broader effort to help the neglected communities along Beekman, Port President and CEO Laura Brunner says.

"The whole Beekman Corridor is getting a lot of attention, everything from housing to the bike trail to repurposing the old manufacturing sites for new jobs," Brunner says, noting that the removal of the silos contaminated with asbestos and other hazardous materials has been a community priority for years.

Other projects will be smaller but also impactful. Brunner says a number of lots that once held single family homes need to be prepared for new construction — something the state money will help with.

"We're going to be able to go back into, I think, at least 50 of these lots and be able to get the rubble out so we can accelerate new home construction," she says. "That obviously fits into this goal of more housing production at all price points, including the affordable side."

Brunner says the demolition projects will start soon. The state funds must be spent by May 2023.

Nick Swartsell is a general assignment reporter for WVXU. Before his current role, he worked on the station’s Cincinnati Edition program as assistant producer and was a journalist for outlets in Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., and Texas prior to that. When he’s not reporting, he likes exploring places he probably shouldn’t on his bike, taking photos, and growing corn, tomatoes and peppers that are, in all honesty, much too hot for any practical use. He is from Hamilton. You can find him at @nswartsell on Twitter.