MIDDLEPORT —In the small villages of Meigs County, there are houses which have stood vacant for years, have deteriorated to the place where occupancy is not an option, and have become nothing more than a blight on the neighborhood.
Occasionally funding becomes available to state and federal agencies where a few houses in the community can be torn down, another house built in its place and sold to a responsible family, or the lot just mulched and seeded over.
One such project of tearing down and building new is under way in Middleport. Two or three other demolition projects on condemned houses are expected to start there in the next few weeks.
Currently the Gallia-Meigs Community Action Agency is the administrative agent for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program which provided federal funding for a three-year program in four counties, Meigs, Vinton, Pike and Scioto. Projects in Meigs County have already been carried out in Syracuse where one house was torn down, another built, and still another rehabilitated.
In Middleport earlier this month an old house on Vine Street, long vacant and an eyesore in the neighborhood, was torn down, and now a new house is being constructed on the site. Tom Reed, an administrative person for the program, said that the house now under construction has a potential buyer who qualifies for purchasing it at a favorable price.
Three other houses are under consideration for demolition as a part of the Middleport project, one on Short Fourth, another on Second, and a third which is a burned out structure on Oliver Street. Reed said Mayor Mike Gerlach, Middleport’s building inspector Mike Hendrickson, and Attorney Mick Barr, village solicitor, have worked with Community Action on identifying projects and assisting with preliminary details including owner notification in order to get the houses accepted for demolition through the federally funded program.
Meanwhile, Jean Trussell, Community Development Block Grant administrator for Meigs County is working toward demolition of other condemned properties in Meigs County. She said her agency received $53,000 for tearing down several houses, two or three of which are in Middleport. Two are located on Front Street and have been vacant for years, she said. There are also two in Pomeroy, one in Syracuse and another in Rutland. All have to go through the condemnation and owner notification process, Trussell said, before anything else can be done. Her expectation is for the demolition of those condemned properties to take place in the spring.