Vacant lots to grow this summer
BUCKEYE LAKE – Buckeye Lake Village will be growing vacant lots this summer.
Director of Development Valerie Hans told the Buckeye Lake Village Council members April 12 that 26 derelict houses would be demolished this summer. A Licking County Neighborhood Stabilization Grant is financing the demolition. The first houses to come down, possibly within a month, are 138 Second Street, 202 Wood Street, 35 Fifth Street, 355 Union, and 11144 Hebron Rd.
Hans said April 14 that 21 more properties have been approved for demolition and the property owners have signed the necessary paperwork. Two property owners tore their houses down at their own expense. They were not included in the grant.
Seven property owners said they were renovating their houses and wouldn’t agree to tear them down. One property owner said the home was being used for storage, and 38 property owners have not responded to communications from the village. A total of 74 properties were recommended for demolition.
In other village news:
• Speaking of communications, Hans said Bing Utilities is distributing direct mailers with “Important Buckeye Lake Water Information” stamped on them. She emphasized that the mailers are not coming from the Village of Buckeye Lake, that they are not public notices, and that the village is not recommending any contractors to connect homes to the village’s new public water distribution system. “It is completely inappropriate what this contractor sent,” she said. “We are not recommending contractors.”
Hans said the village office is receiving hundreds of calls from people wondering what the mailer is about and questioning if they are still signed up for water service. She said someone from Bing Utilities filed a formal public records request asking for the names of everyone signed up for water. The company then sent mailers to all those addresses. Hans said receiving a mailer is proof that the customer is on the official list. Property owners may use any Licking County certified contractor they choose.
• Looking ahead, Mayor Rick Baker said he and Hans met with Gahanna’s Creekside project developers to discuss what could be done with Buckeye Lake’s downtown area once the dust settles following the installation of the public water distribution system. Creekside is a mixed-use community that includes restaurants, shops, businesses, offices, and plenty of water winding between them. “They’re almost as psyched as we are,” said Baker, adding that the developers are eager to discuss the possibilities for developing Buckeye Lake’s downtown sometime in the future.
• Council member Clay Carroll said he surveyed Buckeye Lake Fire Department members to learn how often they responded to the department’s audible siren. Some residents have questioned the need for the loud siren that can be herd throughout the village. Most communities now call volunteers using electronic devices like pagers, eliminating the need for audible alarms. Carroll said most fire department members said they responded to the siren “often or very often,” according to the survey. “It’s probably a necessity,” he said.
• With the April 15 deadline for free water taps now past, future water customers will be charged a a $2,500 tap fee for the standard 3/4 inch residential waterline. Tap fees for businesses and anyone wanting more than a 3/4 inch line will be charged more.
• Council President Charlene Hayden said former council member Shelly Small, who now lives outside the village limits, misses working with the village and wants to be involved in its government somehow. Council members Donna Thompson and A. Kaye Hartman objected, but were clear neither had anything against Small personally and agreed she would serve about any position well. But, Small does live out of the village limits and they didn’t want to set a precedent.
Thompson and Hartman agreed there are other ways to serve the community without being part of its government, such as joining the Buckeye Lake Historial Society, serving on the Friends of the Buckeye Lake Libarary board, or assisting the local LEADS program.