Stow takes hands-on approach in cleaning up

STOW – The city of Stow has taken an active role in removing eye sores and bringing new businesses into the city limits. They knocked down 12 houses last year, compared to a previous average of about one abandoned home per year.

They partnered with Summit County and the state of Ohio for a program called "Moving Ohio Forward." The city takes on half the cost of home demolitions and the program picks up the rest.

Afterward, they took their philosophy from residential to commercial property, approaching property owners, and finding ways to pay for demolition and helping to guide redevelopment plans.

"We've approached developers and said hey here's some creative ways we have to make these properties more marketable, would you consider the city demolishing the building in lieu of other incentives and it's worked out very well for us," Stow Mayor Sara Drew says.

Next on the city's list is a total transformation of a plaza with vacant commercial real estate. The city plans to knock down more than 90,000 square feet of retail property to form townhomes, cottages and stores.

The new area will all tie into a central road and roundabout.


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