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East McCarty properties to be demolished for green space

East McCarty properties to be demolished for green space

December 16th, 2017 by Nicole Roberts in Local News

The Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Commission plans to demolish the Parks-owned properties at 602 and 606 E. McCarty St. The space will be turned into a Greenway trailhead consisting of open park space and benches.

Photo by News Tribune /News Tribune.

The Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Commission voted to demolish two East McCarty Street buildings to add to the Greenway trail.

During Tuesday's meeting, commissioners said they wanted to demolish Parks-owned 602 and 606 E. McCarty St. so the area could be turned into a Greenway trailhead, which would consist of open park space and benches.

Parks Director Todd Spalding said people tend to gather in that area and thought it would be appropriate to turn it into a park area.

"It seems like a natural space for people to get together, and it feels like a natural entrance into the Greenway (system), which then goes into Lincoln University and the school district and everything," he said. "It just makes a lot of sense and we just think it would be the best use of the properties."

Last month, the Jefferson City Council chose not to extend a demolition moratorium on the Lafayette, East McCarty, School streets area. Instead, the city is in the process of selling 408 Lafayette St.

The council also wanted the Parks Commission to discuss selling four Parks-owned properties: 602 E. McCarty St., 606 E. McCarty St., 410 Lafayette St. and 623 School St.

Spalding said 606 E. McCarty St. was donated to the Parks Department for parks use, so the commission did not want to sell that property.

Both East McCarty Street properties were declared abandoned and dangerous by city inspectors, Spalding added, and the commission will talk with the city to see what it has to do to demolish the two buildings.

City staff originally planned to demolish 408 Lafayette St. before the council implemented a three-month demolition moratorium in March. The council granted two extensions in June and September, with the moratorium ending mid-November.

Residents wanted to turn the area into a local historic district to help prevent the area from being turned into a park, which was suggested in the Central East Side Neighborhood Plan — adopted by the city in 2006. The plan states the area would be best used as a park or green space since it's in a 100-year floodplain.

The Parks Commission tabled action on 410 Lafayette St. and 623 School St. because, Spalding said, commissioners want to check on the progress of the local historic district.

Local historian Jane Beetem said they were still working on getting notarized signatures from property owners in the area for the local historic district. Part of the local historic district application requires 75 percent of notarized signatures from property owners in the possible district.

Before they discuss selling 410 Lafayette St. and 623 School St., commissioners also want to see if the city could sell 408 Lafayette St.

The City Council will vote on whether to declare 408 Lafayette St. as surplus property Monday. The property has to be declared a surplus before the city can proceed with selling it.

To help with the process, city staff replaced the plywood on the building with polycarbonate sheeting earlier this week.

Before, under city code, property owners had to use plywood on abandoned buildings. Earlier this year, the City Council amended the code so now, when the city abates properties, property owners have to put polycarbonate sheeting, or clear board, on the buildings.

Unlike plywood, clear board looks similar to glass but is difficult to tear off and destroy.

"We thought it might present the house in a better light when we try to sell that property," said Sonny Sanders, Jefferson City Department of Planning and Protective Works director.

Sanders said the department wanted to train contractors to install the clear board, and since 408 Lafayette St. is a city-owned property, they felt more comfortable training on that building.

The council gave city staff 60 days to sell the property once it is listed.

When the property is put up for sale, a page on the city's website will describe the building, Sanders said.

The city invested more than $78,000 in federal funds from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, through the state and United States Housing and Urban Development, into 408 Lafayette St. between 2009-12.

City staff planned to rehabilitate the property, but after FEMA redrew the floodplain lines in 2012, the property was placed in the 100-year floodplain. The city can't use federal funds on properties in the floodplain.

Last year, the state and HUD said they wanted to close the program out, which means the city would either have to remove federal ties from the property or risk paying back the more than $78,000 in funds.

To remove federal ties, the city could demolish the building or sell the property and use the earnings to help pay back the federal funds.

City staff anticipated receiving final notices of the program in November. Sanders said as of Friday they have not received a notice.