July 22, 2014

Elyria
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Northern Lorain will will see first use of NSP funds

LORAIN — The first homes targeted for purchase and demolition using Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds were approved for purchase by the city’s Board of Control.

The Community Development Department asked for $85,000 plus an estimated $750 per home in closing costs to buy six vacant properties in the northern part of the city.

Three of the properties are on Beach Avenue, two are on North Central Drive and one is on East 31th Street.

The properties are owned by First Federal Savings and Loan. Five are vacant multi-unit rental properties, one is a vacant single-family home and all are foreclosures.

The Board of Control is comprised of Mayor Tony Krasienko, Safety Director Phil Dore and Service Director Robert Gilchrist. It’s responsible for approving all expenditures under the Department of Safety and Service that are more than $5,000 and less than $25,000, Krasienko said.

The city recently received $3.03 million in federal funds to remove blight from various neighborhoods and plans to apply for an additional $9 million in NSP funds sometime this summer.

Krasienko said he’s thrilled the NSP funds are finally being allocated.

“Those were acquired through a bank that had them on the foreclosed rolls, and they are definitely properties that require demolition,” Krasienko said. “They are beyond a rehab, and it’s in an area where we need to clear out some of the older, unattractive housing.”

The city is also looking to prevent blight in nicer neighborhoods.

“We’re continually looking for foreclosures in some of the better neighborhoods to stabilize them so they don’t get picked up by the rental market,” Krasienko said, adding the rehabbed homes will be available for purchase by a wide section of the population.

“The income requirements say a family of six can make $72,000 a year and still buy one of these houses that we rehab,” Krasienko said. “They can be resold to people of middle-income means. Since I’ve been mayor, it’s probably one of the best federal programs I’ve seen them come out with that will actually have a definitive impact to help cities solidify their neighborhoods.”

Krasienko said the city should close on the six properties within the next two weeks.

Sandy Prudoff, director of Community Development, said the homes were chosen because they met the NSP guidelines for blight and they were foreclosed properties — also a requirement.

“They’re in pretty serious condition,” Prudoff said. “They were vacant and vandalized — the bank wanted to get rid of them. They have been a continuing blighting influence in that portion of Lorain for several years. The bank has been diligently trying to find someone to rehab them, and it’s been a very frustrating experience. This will allow us to tear them down and land bank that land for future residential redevelopment.”

Once the properties are cleared by the state historical board as having no historical value and a lead-based paint and asbestos assessment are done, the city will advertise for sealed bids for the demolition of the six properties as a package deal, Krasienko said, adding that having one company do all six will be cheaper for the city.

Contact Alicia Castelli at 329-7144 or acastelli@chroniclet.com.