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Housing authority expands Capitol Avenue priority list

Housing authority expands Capitol Avenue priority list

February 22nd, 2017 by Sam Richardson in Local News

This view is of the rear of several properties in the 400 block of Capitol Avenue that are among the blighted ones to be acquired through eminent domain by the Jefferson City Housing Authority.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

Three more properties have been added to the list of five priority parcels for early rehabilitation in the East Capitol Avenue Urban Renewal area as inquiries from potential buyers begin to grow.

Mayor Carrie Tergin, four senior city staff and the Jefferson City Housing Authority Board of Commissioners met for more than two hours Tuesday morning and added 501 Capitol Ave., 528 Capitol Ave. and 101 Jackson St. to the list of five parcels initially named in a joint Council-Housing Authority meeting at City Hall a couple of weeks ago. The move means appraisers will be instructed to conduct studies of these three parcels with an eye toward early rehabilitation, if possible.

Those first five priority structures, from the Level 1 list, are: 103 Jackson St., 105 Jackson St., 108 Jackson St., 500 E. Capitol Ave. and 401 E. Capitol Ave.

The city staff presented the Housing Authority with a four-page, single-spaced document suggesting levels of priority, identified specific historic properties and how to approach them as targets of redevelopment or restoration, and essentially guided the commissioners through the 33-acre downtown neighborhood house by house and parcel by parcel.

Eric Barron, the senior planner with the Department of Planning and Protective Services, told those assembled: "In an effort to identify structures within the Capitol Avenue Urban Renewal Area where limited financial and administrative resources could be targeted for greater effect in accomplishing the goals of the Urban Renewal Plan, City of Jefferson Planning Department staff have produced (this) priority rating system. The system was developed based on comments from members of the House Authority and City Council, members of the public and analysis and research by Planning Department staff."

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Of the three new parcels, Barron and his colleagues even included some comments: "501 Capitol, high visibility corner lot; 528 Capitol (202 Marshall), high visibility corner lot, existing multiple unit structure; and 101 Jackson, higher visibility corner lot, built as a two-unit structure, adjacent to Level 1 structures."

Barron said the eight houses are almost invaluable to the overall community in terms of their heritage. They should not wait for help to arrive, he said.

The top five include "properties that have been identified as being of major importance to the community," Barron said. "These are properties that, because of their valuable historic, architectural or other significance to the community, are the top priority for rehabilitation. Rehabilitation efforts should be directed toward these properties and, if the property owner is not willing or able to pursue rehabilitation on an immediate timeline, the properties should receive top priority for acquisition."

Others on the Level 2 list, but not yet earmarked for appraisals and possible acquisition, like the first eight, include 429 Capitol, 413-415 Capitol, 114 Jackson, 104 Jackson, 507 Capitol, 407 Capitol and 414-416 Capitol.

The staff even prioritized streets in the analysis.

High priority streets include the 100 block of Jackson and the 400 and 500 blocks of Capitol. Intermediate priority should go to the 100 block of Lafayette and 600 block of State, the staff said.

The Housing Authority commissioners on Tuesday decided to mail letters to 16 of the 17 known property owners of 46 parcels in the East Capitol neighborhood who received "you may be acquired" letters Jan. 25. The letters will advise the owners the Housing Authority must conduct interior and exterior inspections of their properties within the next 30 days.

Cynthia Quetsch, Housing Authority executive director, said Tuesday she had received responses from 16 of the 17 owners. Only Steven J. Bratten, owner of 103 Jackson, known as the Standish house, had failed to communicate with the Housing Authority, she said. Owners of four of the owner-occupied houses indicated they do not want to sell or move, she said. Two others have indicated they would like to sell.

The mayor said she has received numerous phone calls or other contacts from potential buyers of the structures in the East Capitol Avenue area. She has recommended those people contact Jaymie Abbott, director of community relations at City Hall, who said she had at least seven to 10 such potential buyers on a growing list in her office.

The Housing Authority will meet again March 21.