LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – Lisbon has around 1,400 housing units. Nearly all were built before 1970 and quite a few before 1900. So, saving houses in Lisbon is a priority, which is where the Columbiana County Land Bank comes in.
Pictures show a house on South Lincoln Avenue in Lisbon before Chandler Aldridge and her father Harry fixed it up. In the kitchen were a bike and a tire. There were bird feathers and droppings everywhere.
“It was really, really rough. We took probably six or seven dump truck loads of trash,” Chandler said.
“I guess really this was probably the worst because most of the places we work, the houses are occupied so they’re not this bad. But this one had been sitting empty, so it was bad,” Harry said.
With the taxes not being paid and the house uninhabitable, the Columbiana County Land Bank took possession, selling it to the Aldridges for less than $2,000.
“Yeah, there was a lot of work but the cost made it a little more affordable, and made it so that I could make it exactly what I wanted,” Chandler said.
“Lisbon’s landlocked. We haven’t grown landwise, physically, for years. As a result, it’s really important to maintain our current housing stock,” said Lisbon Mayor Pete Wilson.
Wilson credits the land bank with helping save not only the Aldridge home, but three others as well.
“It keeps our population steady. It keeps people living in the village and, of course, there’s the property tax that we still qualify for,” Wilson said.
“We’re very thankful for the land bank, and my uncle who told us about the land bank and this property in particular for us to be able to go on this adventure,” Chandler said.
Virtually the entire Aldridge house has been replaced. The fireplace, walls and foundation were all that were saved. So far, they have two years invested.
“Not counting labor, I’ve probably got $50,000 to $60,000 in it,” Harry said.
“I am so pleased with the end results. This has been a long time coming and it’s just… every time I walk in here, I just get a big smile on my face,” Chandler said.
Wilson says there are other houses in Lisbon he’d like to get in to the land bank, but oftentimes, when they near foreclosure, the owners pay the back property tax just to keep it, and not to fix it up.