Madison Township officials and residents gathered June 21 to celebrate the start of demolition at an abandoned apartment complex.

Madison Township officials and residents gathered June 21 to celebrate the start of demolition at an abandoned apartment complex.

The 55-unit building at 3232 Noe-Bixby Road had been deteriorating for almost a decade, was condemned by Madison Township Fire Marshal Rick Stelzer and languished in environmental court for about six years before finally being approved for demolition by the Central Ohio Community Improvement Corp. land bank program.

Miles-McClellan Construction Co., Inc. will oversee the project.

The Dairy Queen across the street contributed 100 cupcakes to a pre-demolition meeting held in celebration of finally getting the blighted building torn down.

"We've been really busy trying to make this happen and I want to thank Marshal Stelzer, who worked for years on this and has been at it since the beginning," township Administrator Susan Brobst said. "Once they have the building down and fill the ground, they'll seed grass and we can file for the title transfer."

According to Brobst, the COCIC land bank will leave the north parking lot intact so city equipment can be parked there while the vacant lot is maintained until a new use is decided.

"Obviously, we won't be doing anything with the land right away because we'll need to sit down with the trustees and review the budget for next year and make determinations based on those figures," Brobst said. "I'm guessing that at the July trustee meeting, we'll try to set a date for a public meeting to take input from residents on what they'd like to see us do with the property. Then staff and the trustees can start getting an idea about pricing."

This is the first COCIC land bank demolition to occur in Madison Township since the program took over from the county; properties at 3477 Rohr Road and 5241 Fullerton Drive, which had originally been submitted to the county by the township, have now been approved for action by the COCIC land bank program. No date has been set yet for demolishing structures at those sites.

At their June 19 meeting, Madison Township trustees approved six more blighted properties to be submitted to the COCIC land bank program for consideration: 3555 Clearwater Drive, 3796 Shoreline Drive, 3299 Fontaine Road, 4919 Zimmer Road, 8197 Oregon Road and 3519 Wyncote Road.

The COCIC was awarded an $8.2-million matching grant from the Ohio Attorney General's Office for a total of about $16 million to be used to remove blighted residential properties countywide.

"For blighted properties that need to be demolished, there's good news that could alter the central Ohio landscape," COCIC chairman Edward Leonard said. "These grant funds will create the opportunity for approximately $16 million in countywide demolitions, which could lead to the removal of hundreds of blighted residential properties."