Pharos-Tribune

June 23, 2013

TIF board considers contributing to downtown demolition

City looks to replenish unsafe building fund.

by Mitchell Kirk Pharos-Tribune
Pharos-Tribune

---- — The Logansport Redevelopment Commission is considering appropriating money acquired through tax increment financing from the city’s Logan’s Landing TIF district fund to help pay for building demolitions downtown.

Logansport Building Commissioner Bill Drinkwine said more than $46,000 has been expended for three of the city’s latest demolitions at 313 E. Market St., 512 North St. and the most recent one at 208 N. Sixth St. at a Logansport Redevelopment Commission meeting Wednesday.

The east portion of the building at 208 N. Sixth St. was torn down in April after the northeast corner of the building collapsed two days earlier. As it is a shared structure with 210 and 214 N. Sixth Street, Drinkwine said whatever is done to 208 will ultimately affect the other two, adding that 210 is already listing to the north.

Drinkwine recently received a report from Indianapolis-based Silver Creek Engineering Inc. outlining three options the city could take to address the matter. One option suggests constructing shear walls to stabilize 208 and repairing the roof. Another calls for demolishing the third story of 208, converting its floor to a roof and constructing shear walls throughout the building to stabilize it. The third option offers completely demolishing 208 and stabilizing the adjoining buildings.

While the report doesn’t outline specific costs, Drinkwine said between $46,000 and $75,000 would be required to address the building going forward.

Bob Bishop, president of the commission, said because many demolitions occur downtown, perhaps funding accumulated solely by downtown like the Logan’s Landing TIF fund should be used toward demolitions there.

“Instead of using other taxpayer money, maybe we should use TIF money,” Bishop said.

Charlie Hastings, a member of the commission, supported the idea.

“It’s money for downtown,” he said. “Getting some of that will be revitalization.”

Gary Fox, a member of the commission, expressed his support, but said he had reservations as well.

“I’d rather see money spent on new development rather than demolitions,” he said.

Speaking to Fox’s point, Drinkwine said the money required to finish 208 N. Sixth Street would ultimately be for redevelopment, as stabilization for at least two of the buildings is outlined in each of the engineering firm’s recommendations.

Drinkwine said he has scheduled a meeting for July 1 with the property owners of 208, 210 and 214 N. Sixth Street, where he will present the engineering report and determine the best option to take. Following that meeting, Drinkwine said he will address the Logansport Board of Public Works and Safety.

Drinkwine said about $53,000 is currently in the city’s unsafe building fund, about $46,000 of which has already been expended for recent demolitions. The Logansport City Council’s finance committee has discussed the possibility of appropriating around $50,000 from the city’s rainy day fund, which, if approved by the council, would just about bring the unsafe building fund back up to where it currently stands.

Bishop said he would consult with the commission’s attorney, Tom Pitman of Barnes & Thornburg LLP, out of Indianapolis, about amending the Logan’s Landing Redevelopment Plan to allow for appropriations to be put toward future demolitions.

Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or mitchell.kirk@pharostribune.com.