Hoopeston moving ahead on demolition projects

·4 min read

Oct. 16—Mike Davis, Central Illinois Land bank director, updated the city of Hoopeston on some projects he has going at the past council meeting.

He said he had signed a purchase agreement for 908 W. Washington St. and 406 E. Thompson Ave. that the bank should have title to next month or shortly after that and two other properties, 520 E. Honeywell Ave. and 210 E. Washington St. are currently in the abandonment process.

After speaking with city attorney David Wesner, he hopes to have title to these properties by the end of November and hopes to package all the properties together to do a demo request proposal for all four of them.

"As a bare minimum, I'd like to see $800 or more," he said for the properties for demolition. The $800 is what is paid to acquire the properties.

In other business, Davis hoped the council would have voted to acquire five properties, 624 E. McCracken and 628 E. McCracken, 317 Front, 320 Front and 322 Front streets., at this meeting. However, the council did not have it on this agenda so the properties could not be done.

These properties are on the fast-track demolition properties being handled through the abandonment petition process and the county tax trustee action, generally used for public heath and safety hazard. These properties still have someone paying taxes on them, however.

Davis said the only way to get them is to address it in a fast-track demolition way. If the city has a lien on the property, is willing to forgive the liens, he would be willing to take it. He added for the fast track to happen, he only has a 120-day period to handle the demolition process.

"You really have to have all your ducks lined up in a row to get everything done, soup to nuts, in 120 days or the whole process starts all over again," he said.

This process includes asbestos inspection, creating a demolition plan, wait two weeks for proposals, and getting the buildings knocked down.

Davis added if an owner in question of one of the buildings wanted to donate a building, the land bank would consider a donation, but would have to look at the title of the property to make sure no extra liens were on the property.

"I do not have the ability as a land bank to wipe out $20,000 or $50,000 IRS liens," he said. "If those pop up, I'm not touching that property with a 10-foot pole."

Davis asked that the council approve the five properties at the next council meeting, which will take place at 7 p.m. Oct. 19.

Davis said he had to submit an application to the state for the historic preservation sign-off, usually taking about four to six weeks, and took photos of the five properties for the council to sign-off on and plans to submit them to the state to get that process moving.

Davis went on to inform the council that the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's Rebuild Illinois and Main Street programs has grant programs which have funded programs for commercial property.

He asked the council to consider developing a plan to address vacant and dilapidated commercial properties of the city to apply for a DCEO grant. The city could partner with the land bank and Vermilion Advantage to develop a proposal to obtain grant funds.

Davis said that he would be happy to help the city create a DCEO proposal if they were interested but the applications are due in January and would require a lot of work. Some city money would be required.

Alderman Robin Lawson expressed her appreciation to Davis and the Land Bank, "It's been appreciated, all you have done." She added that she had heard a positive response regarding the demo work of the land bank.

"If you like the work, tell your state senators and representatives as well," Davis said. "I'm pushing the state: put real money on the table so we can get work done." And he added, "Now is the time to pick up the phone because I'm asking the governor and the state for millions of dollars to support this work."

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