With the intent of contributing to the revitalization efforts of the Old Munichberg area, Jefferson City has signed a contract to demolish all existing structures in the 600 block of Mulberry Street, according to Jayme Abbott, neighborhood service coordinator.
After acquiring most of the properties in 2012, the city signed a contract Nov. 4 with Ahren's Inc. for the demolition of the buildings. The structures are currently undergoing asbestos abatement, which should be completed by Dec. 10; demolition will begin the week of Dec. 16.
"The demolition should happen quickly. We're hoping by New Year's to have some of it down," Abbott said.
Because the entire block is located in a federally designated flood plain, the city is deed-restricted by federal law to the creation of "green space," which prohibits the future construction of buildings in that specific area, she said.
The state awarded Jefferson City a Community Development Block Grant of $673,195. While the grant will not pay for all of the project, which includes acquisition and demolition, the city will use $60,000 from City Development Block Grant Entitlement Funds to pay the remainder of the costs. The entitlement funds came from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Demolition will cost $270,000. The city has not yet allotted funding for development of the green space, and all funding that could possibly pay for its development is tied up in other projects through 2014, Abbott said.
Because the city acted in accordance with the Uniform Relocation Act, which requires an appraisal process and an option for refusal for each owner involved, acquisition of these properties is not considered eminent domain. The previous owners of the buildings were Glen Groves Trustee, Glen and Nancy Rohrbach, Daniel Christensen, Nicole Sartor and Joseph Selzer, she said.
All of the buildings in the 600 block are currently vacant, Abbott said.
Abbott believes removal of the existing structures will reduce the crime levels in and near the neighborhood. Police reports show instances of domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, a shooting in 2009, and a string of drug-related crimes having occurred in the area, she said.
"We've had a lot of crime in that area. The demolition is a great opportunity to improve the area. It's a good use of funds," Abbott said.
A November 2011 fire consumed much of the 615 Mulberry St. apartment building, which is one of the several being demolished.
The demolition of the buildings will also contribute to the renewal of the Old Munichberg region of Jefferson City, she said.
"They're having a revitalization. By removing the apartments, it's adding to that momentum," Abbott said. Destruction of the buildings should increase the values of other properties located in the area, she added.