Pataskala City Council held an unusual end-of-the-month special session Jan. 24.

Pataskala City Council held an unusual end-of-the-month special session Jan. 24.

Members used the 5-minute meeting to authorize the city administrator to enter into a no-cost contract for the removal of a dilapidated mobile home at 51 Depot St, but thus far the city is not able to find a willing taker.

Dianne Harris, the city's planning and zoning director, said one person had expressed interest in taking the home at no charge to the city, but inspections revealed that it probably has no salvage value to justify the cost of removal.

"I think he thought it was in good enough condition that he could put it on wheels and haul it out," Harris said. "But his initial assessment is that it is too bad shape, that it would probably either collapse while they were preparing it, or that it would be unsafe to take on the road."

Unless the home has enough value to attract someone who is willing to incur the cost of moving it, then the city has to pursue other options, Harris said.

"Plan B would be to tear it down and have somebody take the time to physically tear it apart and put it in Dumpsters to haul away," Harris said. "That's a very expensive proposition."

Harris said the city had tried to have the home demolished under a one-time grant through Licking County, but ownership questions disqualified the Depot Street property from the program.

"Within the past year Licking County had some funds available through grants to do some teardowns, and we were able to do several of those torn down that were abandoned or nuisance properties; maybe it was five or six total," Harris said. "That was a rare opportunity, and we had tried to get this one on Depot done through that program, but the requirements could not be met."

Harris has obtained funding through a federal program, the Community Housing Improvement Program, that provides grants to low-income property owners to demolish as many as 20 homes, but that program, which will begin in March, is not expected to cover the Depot Street property.

Aging housing stock and infrastructure are recognized problems among city managers nationwide, Harris said.

"Most towns deal with it through property-maintenance codes," Harris said. "That's the stick end. The carrot end is, we obtained a CHIP grant, which we're hoping will be operational by early March. That will do only about 20 houses or so, but that can have an impact."