Friday, September 3, 2021 7:23 PM
The City of Warsaw was able to secure a grant of $ 500,000 from the Indiana Brownfields (RLF) Revolving Loan Fund to clean up the Arnolt property, 2525 E. Durbin St.
The Warsaw Public Works and Safety Council on Friday approved the RFL request, which is the next step in the process of starting the cleanup project.
Mayor Joe Thalemer said Warsaw’s director of economics and community development Jeremy Skinner had applied for the grant for some time. “We are certainly excited about this opportunity. These funds are certainly a big help when we are working on sites that have environmental concerns, and I know that (Indiana Finance Authority) and (Indiana Department of Environmental Management) have been great partners with the city with our extensions. sewerage and the work we do there, and also on the environmental side, it’s a significant subsidy, ”he said.
Skinner said the grant has been “in the works” for some time now. “If you go back 10 years, we have tried, over the years, to redevelop the Arnolt property. The Arnolt property has been in receivership for over 20 years. There was a fixed amount that was managed by this receiver. Pretty much they were trying to rent the property, ”he said.
It was actually the second time the city had applied for a grant. The first time it was submitted directly to the Environmental Protection Agency over eight years ago, the city received no funding at that time. The town did not own the Arnolt property at that time.
“We were going after this grant to take possession of it through receivership and clean it up. We didn’t get that grant and we continued to work with the receiver and various real estate people to try to redevelop this property. Nothing has materialized in the past 10 years, ”Skinner said.
A few years ago, he said, receivership was running out of money because of taxes and administrative costs.
“Once he started running out of money, we knew he was going to end up on the tax roll. We worked with the receivership, via (city attorney) Scott (Reust), to take possession of this property through the courts, ”Skinner continued. “Once that was done and we had ownership of it, then we could start applying for grants. As a property owner, there are certain types of grants that we are eligible for, from the perspective of public entities, that private entities are not eligible for.
One of these grants is the RLF fund. It can only be used by public or non-profit entities, which is the city.
“We worked with IDEM and IFA. They had indicated to us some funds that were becoming available and had prepared a table for us to request these RFL funds. So they went, on our behalf, to EPA… for Arnolt, Warsaw Chemical or for the Gatke property, ”Skinner said.
The intention of the city was to use the funds for the Arnolt property as the city continues to develop affordable housing with Real America through the grant from the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority.
“While we’re here, we’re providing them with this request for these funds. Each site can go up to half a million dollars maximum, if we ask for a waiver, what we do, what the state will do on our behalf, so it is in essence that RLF is asking the state to set aside those funds to clean up the Arnolt property, ”Skinner said.
Thalemer stressed that RFL funds will be grant funds and should not be repaid.
Skinner said the first step will be to clean up the known hazards on the property. The second step, if there are funds remaining, will be to demolish the building.
“So it’s going to be a clean site, so if we get the IHCDA funding for the affordable housing project, we’ll have a clean site to build on,” Skinner said.
Thalemer said Real America tried last year to secure funds from IHCDA, but missed it by a point. He said the type of housing requested would be affordable family housing for the workforce.
“I know it’s a lot of explanation, but it’s a really important piece of the puzzle that is being pursued for the redevelopment on this side of the Argonne road,” Thalemer said.
George Clemens, board member, said it was wonderful that the property was cleaned. He praised Skinner for his work on it.
Thalemer said the Michiana Region Council of Governments also played an important role there.
Clemens made a motion to approve the request and it was approved 3-0.
Skinner also presented to council an easement and easement agreement to purchase a sanitary sewer easement along the property at 4050 Corridor Drive. The city will donate $ 11,700 to Crown Castle.
He said the easement agreement “defines the construction methodology that will be required to extend the sanitary sewer to the property to the north.” The city has sanitary sewers on Corridor Drive, but is trying to provide sewage north of Corridor Drive “to about 70 acres that will be developed for housing,” he said. To do this, he said there must be easements along Corridor Drive.
After City Engineer James Emans reviewed and determined what was the best solution, the city moved to the property at 4050 Corridor Drive for the easement. Skinner said the property is owned by a cell tower company. The easement is 20 feet.
Skinner said the price of $ 11,700 they negotiated was just the costs for Crown Castle to process the documents on their side i.e. attorney fees etc.
Thalemer said, “From a city perspective, our return on investment is the ability to create more residential housing.
Skinner estimated that the 70 acres could accommodate around 100 homes. He said they will have to annex the property to the city’s northern residential tax (TIF) increase funding district and “use those funds to extend the sanitary sewer to the site.”
He said he was working with the real estate developer. “He has the option to buy the property but wanted to make sure we have sanitary sewers for him, so we are working with him to make him feel comfortable that he can execute these documents, get that easement before he can. buy the property and start annexation. “, explained Skinner.
Council approved the easement agreement.
In other matters, the Board approved an amendment to the contract with VS Engineering Inc. for the improvement of the extension of the Country Club lane. The addendum adds an additional cost of $ 17,400 to the original contract of $ 11,300 for a total of $ 28,700.
Wastewater Superintendent Brian Davison said there were flooding issues as you turn to walk down Country Club Lane to the curb.
“The original contract, you can see we hired them to review it, give us some options. We have looked at their options and now would like to proceed with the design, leading to the construction. So that takes us through the construction with the administration. We are looking at eventually raising that road there and minimizing the amount of water that will stay on the road for a while, ”he said.
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