The Canal Winchester Industry and Commerce Corp. (CWICC) hopes the new Franklin County Land Bank will help redevelop the city's vacant properties.

The Canal Winchester Industry and Commerce Corp. (CWICC) hopes the new Franklin County Land Bank will help redevelop the city's vacant properties.

"Franklin County is looking to use the land bank for properties that have become delinquent on taxes to help make them available for reuse," city development director Lucas Haire said. "Thankfully, in Canal Winchester, there are a lot fewer than in most communities, since typical-ly, these are properties that have been abandon-ed."

Per state law, the Franklin County Land Bank will operate under the Central Ohio Community Improvement Corporation. The COCIC was established to assist with the redevelopment of distressed properties in central Ohio.

Ohio law allows for counties and municipalities to form a nonprofit public-private Community Improvement Corp. to deal with the acquisition and sale of property, Haire said.

The five-member CWICC was setup as a CIC in 1994 primarily to develop the Canal Pointe Industrial Park, but more broadly, to acquire land for redevelopment and facilitate development property sales, according to city documents.

Councilman Steve Donahue, also a CWICC member, said the idea was "to establish an industrial park so that residents didn't have to foot all the bills for taxes.

"In 1994, we got started and put together a plan to build the Diley Road interchange and then put the industrial park out there," he said. "The CWICC was the mechanism we needed so land could be purchased and developed without so much bureaucracy - and it worked out well."

Other CWICC members are Kimberley Miller-Smith, Brad Markwood, Reno Robinett, Marilyn Rush-Ekelberry and Dick Weiser.

Currently, the CWICC believes there are three or four delinquent and abandoned properties that it would like the Franklin County Land Bank to take over so they could eventually be made available to Canal Winchester for redevelopment, according to Haire.

"We've got three or four properties that we'd be interested in," he said. "I believe they're all in a tax foreclosure situation, which is done through the county, so once they've been turned over (to the land bank), they can then turn them over to the CWICC. That will give us more control over how to deal with the reutilization of those properties."

Typically, according to Haire, if the city pursues the acquisition and sale of land on its own, the process requires several steps, including three city council hearings, a public hearing and other mandated rules.

The use of a CIC helps streamline that process, he said.

"If government wants to sell land, they have to go through a big process, but when the property goes through the CWICC, it doesn't and they have the ability to offer grants and loans that the city wouldn't be able to do," Haire said. "The CWICC helps the government move at the speed of business."