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Lawrence home will be first in area

Oct. 02, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

ROME TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- An abandoned, dilapidated home on a weed-filled, mosquito-infested lot in Rome Township could be turned into the first Huntington Area Habitat for Humanity home in eastern Lawrence County two years from now.

Lawrence County Treasurer Steve Burcham sold the tax lien on the property Monday to Dave Michael, executive director of Huntington Area Habitat for Humanity, for $1.

No taxes have been paid on the one-quarter of an acre property for 10 years, Burcham said. About $8,000 is due on back taxes for the property at 1204 County Road 411, about a half-mile from Fairland High School. "It's been offered for sale a half-dozen times and no one has bought it," he said.

The process will take a while, Michael said. The foreclosure process will take a year. The best case will allow work on the site to start in about 15 months, he said.

"This is a big step," Michael said. "We hope that two years down the road, there will be a Habitat house on the site. There's a huge need for affordable housing in Lawrence County."

In the meantime, Habitat will start raising money for the project. The two- to five-bedroom house will cost about $50,000, Michael said. The Guyan Valley Missionary Church in Scottown has donated $1,000 for the house, Michael said.

"We'll also be working with the Ironton-Lawrence County Area Community Action Organization to have the abandoned house torn down," he said.

"We're also looking for additional property," he added.

Huntington Area Habitat for Humanity is holding a seminar at 6 p.m. Thursday for those interested in working with Habitat to own the home, he said.

"We build houses year round," Michael said. "We spend 2,500 volunteer hours for each home. We're looking for more volunteers. We also plan to get Collins Career Center partnering with us on the house.

"Before we start to build on this lot, we'll have a family chosen for it," Michael said.

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