He said by the time the city acquired the property, the blighted building actually had a negative assessed value.
The city talked with Walton developer and restaurateur, Mike Lucas, who owned the old Sly Fox bar, about turning the property into a new restaurant.
Last year, they struck a deal. The city gave the property to Mike Lucas at no cost, with the caveat that he would renovate it and turn it into a family establishment, McKay said.
And that’s what he did. Linda Lucas said they had to gut the building and completely redo the interior. They also had to raise up the floor by 18 inches after the flood hit earlier this year.
But all the worked paid off when The Fox’s Trail opened for business in the middle of downtown’s trailhead area.
“It’s beautiful,” McKay said. “I think it’s going to be an excellent piece to that neighborhood. I think they’ll do very well.”
Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said the project has been a great example of the private and public sector working together to improve the city.
“The end result is a restored historic building that’s back on the tax roll, and is a great amenity to our trailhead improvement in the downtown area,” he said in a statement. “This is a successful example how city government can facilitate private sector development to clean up an eyesore and redevelop a long-neglected property at no cost to taxpayers.”