A great deal of press goes to multi-million dollar revitalization projects in downtown and OTR with good reason. But when smaller urban communities, like the first suburbs, with scarce resources try to resuscitate pieces of blighted commercial property for redevelopment, there is a little-known program that can have modest yet significant impact.

The Urban Land Assistance Program (ULAP) provides seed funding to communities throughout Hamilton County to help bring blighted commercial and industrial properties back to life. These vacant and abandoned parcels sometimes need a catalyst to spark private and public investment to return these properties back to productive use.

The program fosters cooperation between the county, local communities and the private sector to eliminate an otherwise unproductive site. The goal is to set the stage for real economic opportunity, investment, and jobs. Often, properties can be sewn together into bigger projects to entice private investment.

Former Redwine site in the City of Reading is now home to the new Viox Services Headquarters at 9655 Reading Rd.

Former Redwine site in the City of Reading is now home to the new Viox Services Headquarters at 9655 Reading Rd.

One such project was the Redwine site in the City of Reading. The community was awarded a grant by the program in 2006. In 2010, this once abandoned property, in a prime business location, now serves as the new Viox Services Headquarters at 9655 Reading Rd.

Other communities, such as North College Hill (NCH), have also benefited from ULAP grants. NCH demolished a long underutilized commercial strip to aid in land assembly efforts in the city’s center. Silverton and Lockland leveraged the ULAP grant to demolish abandoned gas stations. In addition to demolition and remediation, communities such as Sharonville have leveraged ULAP for environmental assessments involving soil sampling and asbestos testing on areas with perceived contamination.

Since 2002, ULAP has received over $2,000,000 dollars in requests, on 58 projects, which resulted in nearly $1,000,000 in funding being provided to redevelop over 220 acres of commercial/industrial land in Hamilton County. Typical ULAP grants range from $10,000 – $25,000.

Funding rounds are held every fall and every spring. The program is administered by HCDC. Contact Dan Ferguson 513-458-2226 or dferguson@hcdc.com for more information

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