SALEM - County, local officials and representatives of the Habitat for Humanity of Northern Columbiana County joined U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-6) in a visit to a new house being built at 509 Franklin Ave. on Tuesday afternoon.
The Habitat for Humanity house is directly benefiting from Wilson's legislative efforts which he said was "an example of government working together collectively" with other groups.
Wilson said $1.72 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds, specifically targeted into the Neighborhood Stabilization Program has reached Columbiana and Carroll counties.
U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson, left, met with county and local officials at a build site for a Habitat for Humanity of Northern Columbiana County at 509 Franklin Ave. in Salem Tuesday. Federal stimulus money was directed into the Neighborhood Stabilization Program which allowed the city to remove a house at the address and the Habitat for Humanity to build there. Next to Wilson, from the left, are Lauren Arnold of AmeriCorps Vista, Marti Wendel, president of Habitat for Humanity (N. Columbiana County), Columbiana County Commissioner Dan Bing and Mayor Jerry Wolford. (Salem News photo by Larry Shields)
He said more stabilization money is on the way, noting that Ohio has been particularly hard hit economically and while the county isn't back to where it was "at least it's stopped falling."
He said more tax breaks for small business are important to "get small businesses cooking."
Wilson pushed to get neighborhood stabilization funding to be spent on the demolition of dilapidated and hazardous properties and this became law in 2008.
The Habitat for Humanity benefited after Salem used its NSP money to remove a house previously located at the address.
Habitat President Marti Wendel said the organization then used it's own NSP money to excavate the lot and construct a full basement,
She expects the four-bedroom house, currently under roof with the siding nearly completed, to be occupied by fall.
It will become the home of the Anthony Nunzo family.
A second property at 247 E. 5th St. was also purchased with Habitat NSP money, while two other properties at 644 E. 4th St. and 482 E. 7th St. had houses removed with NSP money allocated to the city
Columbiana County Commissioner Penny Traina said the county was "very appreciative" of Wilson's efforts, noting Salem has received $383,000.
"Lots of houses have really been improved in Columbiana County," Traina said.
"We welcome more (funding)."
Mayor Jerry Wolford said the city had a lot of issues with houses and the stabilization program has been used to remove 33 with three pending, while 17 have been rehabilitated.
"We have a tremendous housing office and inspector," Wolford said, pointing to Inspector Dan Rice and former housing Inspector Roy Brown.
Wilson said he was fighting every day in Washington to bring money back to build and recently he fought to have this same standard apply to American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds and to the recently passed Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
He said the NSP provides states with even more money to do demolition in needed areas, which protects home values, home owners and supports communities.
"The NSP funds have helped us replace vacant, dilapidated houses with simple decent, affordable energy efficient houses for families in need," said Barbara Loudon, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Columbiana County.
Larry Shields can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org