A board that offered 34 empty Logansport lots that formerly blighted houses once stood on approved one of 16 proposals on Tuesday and intends to entertain bids again this month.

The Logansport Municipal Building Corp. offered 34 lots that formerly held houses demolished through the city's participation in the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority's Blight Elimination Program.

The request for proposals issued regarding the properties called for a minimum purchase price on each property of the lesser of $3,000 or closing costs. It also called for proposals for single-, two- and multi-family housing or structural improvements or additions to existing structures.

The building corporation took 16 proposals including 35 offers for 26 of the empty lots under advisement on Oct. 6 and met again on the subject on Oct. 10.

Mercedes Brugh, president of the corporation, said at Tuesday's meeting that Logansport City Attorney Yamir Gonzalez-Velez informed the corporation that proposals could not be considered if they did not meet the requirements listed in the request for proposals, like being submitted on time, being complete and offering a purchase price of at least $3,000.

There was one proposal that stood up to all the stipulations, Brugh continued. It was a bid of $3,100 for 1206 E. Broadway submitted by an adjacent property owner with future plans for a garage.

Building corporation members voted unanimously to approve the proposal on Tuesday.

They also laid out a plan to issue another request for proposals.

"We're going to go through this whole thing again and hopefully have better results," Brugh said.

Corporation members expressed a desire for the new RFP to not require that structures go up on the lots.

Several of the proposals submitted for the first RFP expressed a desire for additional yard space for adjacent properties.

Corporation members emphasized the new RFP will still require bids of the lesser of $3,000 or closing costs.

Logansport Clerk-treasurer Stacy Cox said a local title company provided her an estimate on closing costs of $500 to $600 per property.

When drafting the first RFP, Cox said officials were going off of a closing cost estimate of $1,500 per the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, and $3,000 was included in the bid requirement to ensure the building corporation would be covered when it came to closing costs. She added the IHCDA's estimate was likely based on Indianapolis' housing market.

While the RFP will require bids of the lesser of $3,000 or closing costs, Brugh said after the meeting that if bidders "guess that they're competing with someone else for the same property, they're welcome to bid more and that's one of the things we'll consider."

No matter what bidders propose, they'll still end up paying the closing costs if they're less, she said.

The new RFP will be available at the Logansport Clerk-treasurer's Office on the second floor of the City Building, 601 E. Broadway, on Friday, Oct. 13. The office will accept proposals through noon Friday, Oct. 20. Proposals will be opened at a building corporation meeting at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20 in the Council Chambers on the third floor of the City Building.

Corporation members apologized to bidders who attended Tuesday's meeting.

"It came down to the words that we used in the [original] request," said Dave Morris, a corporation member. "So in order to be fair, we thought this was the only way we could do this, was to start over... And I personally apologize for the time that maybe we've wasted for some of you but hopefully you won't be discouraged from resubmitting."

Indianapolis-based Crestline Development submitted a proposal through the original RFP for 20 of the offered properties, but the proposal was incomplete.

The firm announced in August its intention to apply for tax credits to fund the development of 30 to 40 single-family houses in Logansport on Blight Elimination Program lots and other lots the city owns.

Dan Hubbard, development director for Crestline Development, said after Tuesday's meeting that he'll share the information from the meeting with the firm's development team to determine how to move forward.

The deadline for tax credit applications is in early November.

"I don't know that the timing will work, with all the reports we have to get, the money we're going to have to spend," Hubbard said of Crestline Development submitting another proposal. "I'm hopeful."

Logansport City Council met in committee on Monday to discuss ways the city could support the project in an effort to improve Crestline Development's tax credit application score.

Council members settled on voting in the future on a 10-year tax abatement for the project, waiving utility hookup fees and building permit fees, providing sidewalk and curb funding and providing $150,000 in scholarship funds for residents. The vote would be contingent on Crestline Development's acquisition of the properties.

Reach Mitchell Kirk at mitchell.kirk@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5130

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