The Highland County Land Reutilization Corporation, also knows as the land bank, had a special meeting Thursday and discussed two upcoming grants the state has scheduled for the beginning of the year.
Mark Current, Highland County Community Action Organization housing director, said that there were two grants, one for brownfield remediation and another for demolition and revitalization.
He said both grants have quick turnarounds, and that for the demolition grant, the land bank would be the applicant, while for the Brownfield grant, some counties use the land bank to apply for it, but that the actual applicant is an “entity of government.” He said the way that would work is that the land bank would apply on behalf of the Highland County Board of Commissioners and there would need to be an agreement for the land bank to stand in place of the commissioners.
Current said that for both grants, the land bank or administrator over the grant doesn’t have to possess or acquire the property to do demolition or work on brownfield, all it needs is access to the property.
Current said that for the brownfield grant, the state put aside $1 million for each county. When some of that money is spent, any left over funds would be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Current said there is not a match requirement for the first $1 million, but that any other money awarded would have a 25 percent match attached.
He said that the guidelines recommend the hiring of a certified professional or firm that would handle Phase 1 and 2 assessments, complete the applications, and procure and oversee contractors and all bidding. He also said that the invoice for their services would be turned in to the state for reimbursement.
County commissioners Jeff Duncan and Terry Britton agreed that running the brownfield through the land bank should be the way to proceed. Duncan filed a motion to go into an agreement between the land bank and the commissioners, which the rest of the land bank members approved.
Duncan also filed a motion to enter into a non-binding agreement with Tetra Tech that would make it the county’s certified professional and help the county through the different processes of the grant.
Current said the deadline for Round 1 of the brownfield grant is Jan. 31, 2022, and that’s why he called a special meeting.
Current said that the demolition and revitalization grant is like the brownfield grant, except that it’s used for commercial or residential property. He said it gives each county $500,000 and that there is no match required. However, he said that a county could apply for more once they’ve used the first $500,000, but that extra money would have a 25 percent match attached.
Current said the land bank would be the applicant for the grant. He said that administrative costs could be 10 percent of the money, or $50,000, and that acquisition costs could also be 10 percent. He said the guidelines state that property can be purchased, but it cannot be more than the auditor’s property value and that the land bank could also receive donated property.
He said that applications for each already identified project should be applied for together by Feb. 28, 2022, and that work on the grant must be finished by May 1, 2023. However, Current said that the guidelines state that amendments to the grant agreement were “expected and allowable” and that there could be additional property not previously identified added later.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.