Faced with a use-it-or-lose-it funding situation, city administrators in Conneaut plan to accelerate the pace of house demolition next year.

City Manager Tim Eggleston this week said he learned the city must commit at least 50 percent of the $150,000 it received last year in Move Ohio Forward funding by Jan. 13 or risk losing the entire amount. As a result, council can expect to see legislation dealing with at least the demolition portion of the program at its first meeting of 2014 , he said.

Following the demolition bid legislation will be another ordinance related to asbestos removal work that may be required, Eggleston said. To ensure interest among contractors, the city plans to advertise the work in newspapers and also send along bid specifications packages to companies known to do demolition work, he said.

“We’ve got to get moving,” he said.

Move Ohio Forward is a program created from a fund resulting from litigation aimed at certain financial companies involved in the foreclosure crisis of the past few years. Conneaut’s allocation is $150,000, which could be enough to flatten 10 buildings, Eggleston said.

“We expect an average cost of $15,000 to remove asbestos and demolish a building,” he said.

The entire amount must be spent by mid-May, Eggleston said. Conneaut, which is coordinating its own project, expects to ask the Ohio attorney general’s office for a deadline extension, he said.

In September, the city pinpointed more than a dozen houses expected to get priority attention from the wrecking ball. One of the houses, located on Jefferson Street, was bumped from the list after it was purchased. Remodeling work is under way, officials have said.

Remaining addresses in the running include: 255 Clay St., 552 Clark St., 152 Poplar St., 22 North Lane, 890 Harbor St., 524 Lakeview Ave., 180 Hayward Ave., 295 Cleveland Court, 344 Crown St., 151 Hiler St., 131 Hayward Ave., 345 E. Main Road, 674 W. Main Road and 654 Harbor St. One of the condemned houses may be salvage for as a training facility for the city’s safety departments, Eggleston said.

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