News and Tribune

December 16, 2012

NSP project likely to be extended past February in New Albany

One property may be used for a community gardens

By DANIEL SUDDEATH
daniel.suddeath@newsandtribune.com

NEW ALBANY — With three houses left to rebuild, the initial construction phase of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program in New Albany is winding down, and city officials are considering what will happen next.

The initial terms of the $6.7 million federal grant received by the city included a requirement that the refurbished houses be occupied by the end of February.

But it’s expected the deadline will be extended, according to Carl Malysz, director of community housing initiatives for the city. He told the New Albany Redevelopment Commission Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, has indicated the main goal will be for communities to have spent NSP funds on their designated projects by the end of February.

“They are permitting additional time after the expenditure deadline to accomplish occupancy,” Malysz said.

A new deadline for having the NSP houses sold in New Albany hasn’t been finalized, he continued. The stipulations could be relaxed so that lease-to-buy options can be utilized to fill the houses, Malysz said.

New Albany’s NSP program is directed at refurbishing the S. Ellen Jones neighborhood, which has been dubbed Midtown. Of the 29 properties marked for rehabilitation, one has been switched from a housing rebuild to a potential community gardens site. Malysz said the plan is to use the property at 1321 E. Elm St. for a garden area, and that the city may partner with a local church to establish the site.

There are three properties marked for new construction left to finish and about $300,000 in remaining cash to spend, Malysz said.

Kevin Zurschmiede, city councilman and redevelopment commission member, requested the administration provide a financial report for the project, which Malysz said would be prepared in the coming weeks. Commission members were especially interested in learning how much revenue has been gained through selling the properties. There are still 12 houses on the market, Malysz said, as he added he can’t confirm how much money has been obtained and will possibly be realized through selling the houses until the financial report is finished.

Commission members estimated that more than $1 million should be raised through selling the properties — money that is supposed to go back into additional housing projects.

“That’s a lot of rehabilitation that we can do,” said Irving Joshua, president of the redevelopment commission.