Hamilton contractors to evaluate every parcel of land in the city: What to know

Every property in Hamilton soon will be evaluated for its condition to help the city identify which specific areas need help with the condition of their residential or commercial structures. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Every property in Hamilton soon will be evaluated for its condition to help the city identify which specific areas need help with the condition of their residential or commercial structures. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Hamilton, looking to upgrade the condition of its neighborhoods, has hired a non-profit organization to evaluate each of the approximately 30,000 parcels of land in the city in the coming months.

The Western Reserve Land Conservancy will be paid $43,500 for the work, helping to identify “hot spots” within neighborhoods that need attention, buildings that may need to be demolished and the overall condition of areas.

“They have done property inventories all over the state of Ohio,” said Aaron Hufford, chief of staff for City Manager Joshua Smith. “The goal is to gather data on our property condition, specifically finding vacant properties, or properties that might need to be demolished in the future or looking to get them into some rehabilitation program of some kind.”

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The information will be evaluated to help the city use “our limited resources more strategically,” Hufford said.

People should “not be alarmed when they see some folks walking around in high-visibility vests with an iPad,” he said. “They’ll snap a photo of properties and then take some notes about the condition of the structure.”

They won’t be turning properties in to city’s code enforcement, only recording what they see, Hufford said. They have done similar work in Cleveland, Akron, Dayton, Lorain and Sandusky, among other Ohio cities.

Miami University students did a similar evaluation, on a much smaller scale along a business corridor in Hamilton’s North End neighborhood.

Among other things, “This is going to be amazing baseline data for us.” A few years from now, “We can do a similar project and see has the quality of our neighborhoods improved at all? I’m hoping the answer is yes. We’ve got a lot of good things going on, so that’s the goal.”

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Another Hamilton evaluation

Meanwhile, in an unrelated survey in Hamilton, city Gas & Water distribution employees, accompanied by someone from the Southern Cross company between now and October will be conducting federally required leakage and corrosion surveys for the municipally owned natural gas utility.

The gas-line evaluators will be in some East Side neighborhoods evaluating lines up to the indoor- or outdoor gas meter. They will have proper identification and inspections will take 5-10 minutes.