401 Crystal Ave

Third First Legacy is in contract to buy the house at 401 Crystal Ave. from the Knox County Land Bank. Laverne and Sara Eash of Third First Legacy plan to demolish the structure and build a single-family home in its place.

MOUNT VERNON — If all goes according to plan, in a few months, another dilapidated property will disappear from Mount Vernon's streetscape. A newly-built single-family home will rise in its place.

Third First Legacy is in contract with the Knox County Land Bank to buy the eyesore at 401 Crystal Ave. The land bank acquired the property in September for $19,000. Sam Filkins, vice president of the land bank, anticipates the closing to be finalized in the next few days.

Laverne and Sara Eash of Third First Legacy have worked with the land bank before, previously renovating the house at 407 N. West St.

Filkins said that the land bank has also closed on a lot in Apple Valley. Owner Tony Mazza plans to build a house for resale.

Two other Apple Valley lots are in contract, one with a builder and the other with a neighbor.

At its October meeting, the land bank authorized the Cooper Park Development Company to negotiate a lease for Plant 1 on the Siemens campus. As of the Nov. 13 meeting, the interested company has not yet signed the lease.

Filkins said he is writing a Request for Proposal for funding for an updated site plan of the campus. The previous site plan only included the buildings that Siemens Energy was not interested in.

Realtor Doug Shull has completed drone videos of the campus and anticipates having marketing materials available this week.

The CPDC is seeking Jobs Ohio grants to underwrite the cost of roof and other building repairs. Filkins said that local groups are more interested in funding marketing materials and potential site designs rather than infrastructure repairs.

The land bank continues to work with the Area Agency on Aging and Praxia Partners on senior housing. Filkins said he has identified 10 lots the AAA is interested in, all of which are owned by other nonprofit organizations.

“The land bank is just a connector piece. It's not property we need to acquire,” explained Filkins of the groups' collaboration.

AAA is working on a similar project in Richland County. The Richland County Land Bank transferred several parcels to the AAA in March for development of Ritter's Run, a 12-unit housing development for low-income seniors age 55 and above.

Teresa Cook, vice president of administrative services at AAA, said she anticipates pre-site work to be done in December with groundbreaking yet this year.

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