MOUNT VERNON — Land Bank President Jeff Gottke told board members on Wednesday that he is looking to create two Community Reinvestment Areas as a way to encourage revitalization.
One potential CRA is in Clinton Township along Columbus Road. The other is Ohio Avenue and Howard Street in the city of Mount Vernon. The Mount Vernon CRA would run from Gay Street to Quarry Street.
CRAs provide real property tax exemptions to property owners who renovate or build new structures.
“This could be a way for property owners to be incentivized to fix up their properties,” he said.
Gottke said that since the Land Bank will soon own one property on Ohio Avenue and possibly another, Ohio Avenue area made sense.
“There are multiple good things that surround that neighborhood. It seems like an area poised for redevelopment,” he said.
The Land Bank's $15,000 bid on 504 E. Ohio Ave. was the highest. The closing will be completed by Aug. 1.
Gottke said plans are to demolish the house, which has asbestos and shingle issues.
“It's not going to be cheap, but it's probably the best thing for the neighborhood,” he said.
Gottke is not sure what will happen to the lot after demolition. Options include selling it to a neighbor, leaving it as green space or a community garden, or turning it over to the city. Land banks do not pay taxes on properties, so there is no tax expense to the Land Bank should it retain ownership.
The other property the Land Bank is looking to acquire on Ohio Avenue is 304 E. Ohio Ave. It is working through the Board of Revision to acquire that vacant, tax-delinquent house. Other properties the Land Bank is targeting through the BOR include:
- 244 Newark Road, Mount Vernon
- 505 N. Jefferson St., Mount Vernon
- 204 Ross Street, Danville
The Land Bank also bought the house at 407 N. West St. Gottke said the final plans for it are uncertain until it is cleaned up and assessed structurally. It may or may not be a candidate for rehabilitation.
The board agreed with Gottke that it is time to put together a strategic plan for 2020. Although successful, thus far the Land Bank has approached properties individually rather than through a concentrated effort in one area. The CRAs fit into such strategic development.
Board member Tyler Griffith of RE/MAX said that by working through the individual approach, few people really know about the Land Bank and its goals.
“I'd like to see us focus on some core areas and show them what we are doing, and then maybe we can expand,” he said.
Gottke sent letters to eight more property owners gauging their interest in turning over their properties to the Land Bank. None have responded so far.
Following an executive session, the board authorized Gottke to file abandoned land affidavits on any properties coming before the August BOR. It is not known which properties might come before the BOR; the authorization is a proactive vote should the Land Bank be interested.