Federal authorities give go-ahead to Alex demolition project

May 16—ALEXANDRIA — As of Monday's City Council meeting, the city of Alexandria is one step closer to demolishing three blighted buildings thought to be historical.

Alexandria's Economic Development Director Alan Moore said the federal government did not express concerns regarding the historical nature of three buildings located near Washington and Canal streets.

The project's future is up to the Indiana Office for Community and Rural Affairs or OCRA, which could award funds for the demolition.

The city is applying for an OCRA grant for about $383,000 in exchange for $50,000 from the city.

The $50,000 will come from the city's allotment of federal American Rescue Plan or ARPA funds.

OCRA could reach a decision near the first of the year, Moore said.

Before demolishing the buildings, the city will need to satisfy requirements of the Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology, a subsidiary of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Such requirements include photographing and mapping of the three buildings to make up for the historic loss of the building.

Such work would need to be done by approved professionals, a majority of which are engineering firms, according to Moore.

The city's plan is to fund the work via ARPA funds, Moore said in a separate interview.

This process began after Alexandria halted the project last December as they were told the buildings could be historical. As a result, they needed federal approval before the demolition could begin.

Should the buildings be demolished, the city is required to leave the remaining land undeveloped for 5 to 7 years.

In a previous interview, Councilwoman Patty Kuhn expressed disapproval with OCRAs policy, saying "we need to be building stuff."

The council will meet again on June 5 at 5:45 p.m.

Follow Caleb Amick on Twitter @AmickCaleb. Contact him at caleb.amick@heraldbulletin.com or 765-648-4254.