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Commissioners talk about blight funding

Last week, the county’s Redevelopment Authority heard about a new state program aimed at funding blight remediation or, more simply put, demolition.

Monday was the Warren County Commissioners turn.

The gist of the program is this – up to $300,000 through the Department of Community and Economic Development to help counties and municipalities fund blight projects.

Commissioner Jeff Eggleston said that the grant is “highly competitive” and that there would probably be “only one grant per county if at all.”

Discussion to this point had focused on the potential of acquiring those funds to demolish the 1 E. Main St. property in Youngsville but Eggleston said he has reached out to the city and is “trying to work with them on a joint application so we can hit both county and city municipal properties.”

He speculated that a joint application “would improve our chances of getting an award” but acknowledged that there is “a lot of footwork that needs to be done” by the grant’s mid-July application deadline.

Eggleston said the city’s Redevelopment Authority “needs to make a determination” on the collaboration and specifically mentioned the former Brick House on Liberty St. as a target property for either rehabilitation or demolition.

“They basically need to decide whether they want to work with us or not,” he said.

“The City is collaborating with the County on demolitions; but, they will have to go through the normal blight process first,” City Manager Nancy Freenock said, noting that the city doesn’t have any properties at the demolition stage in the RDA’s ownership or blight process.

“The City and County are working jointly to develop a list of properties to be included in the grant but no action to demolish will be taken until the (blight) process has been completed with respect to each property on the City’s list.”

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