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Plans to Clean Up Problem Apartments
UNION TOWNSHIP, Ohio (Rich Jaffe) -- Right on the edge of Clermont county's Union Township sits that township's number one problem area.It's a low income neighborhood known as Picadilly.
Township officials say there are more fire and police runs there than anywhere else in the entire township and that is costing taxpayers a lot of money. However, the Township has come up with an unusual solution.
Picadilly sits right across from the Cherry Grove shopping center and right behind the Beechmont racquet club.
While there are a lot of decent people living there, it is the center of the universe for trouble in Union Township. After trying for years to get the multiple landlords here to clean up their acts, Union Township officials have decided if you can't beat 'em, buy 'em.
This six unit apartment building in what used to be known as Picadilly Square has sat vacant for nearly three years.Boarded up, surrounded by weeds it is a magnet for drug dealers,animals and trouble.
The building has actually burned three different times making it a threat to both Union Township police and firefighters. Township officials now have a contract to buy the building for $25,000 dollars and once they get it the plan is to tear it down, replacing it with green space.
Township administrator Ken Geis says "the money that we're using for this is money generated from some of the economic development programs that we have particularly in the Eastgate, Ivy Point area and some other areas of the township that are going to be able to positively affect this blighted area."
No one single landlord owns the complex, the buildings belong to multiple owners. The rent for one of the 2 bedroom apartments is $500 dollars a month and while cheap, nothing's easy about living here.
Residents say the problems in Picadilly lie with some of the residents and some of the landlords. Richard Wagner lives here. He says "nobody really bothers anybody back here. it's like a big community, a lot of people know each other. It's rampant with just everything, anything you can think of prostitution,dealing drugs, counterfeiting, everything's back here."
Township administrator Ken Geis says if they become available for the right price, they'll buy any of the units in the complex. The good ones can be sold off to developers interested in improving the neighborhood. The bad ones will be torn down.
It's a plan that most of the residents we spoke with seem to like as long as rents don't go up dramatically. Resident William Gastineau told us "that way all the buildings that are no good, there's something being done about them and we can probably have something decent back here."
Township administrator Ken Geis tells us they expect the deal on the first building to be done some time in October, and demolition will begin immediately.