The Highland County Land Reutilization Corporation, aka land bank, moved to apply for a Brownfield Grant to clean up the old Bell’s Foundry site at its monthly meeting Thursday.
Jeff Duncan, the president of the Highland County Board of Commissioners and a land bank board member, said that the owners of the property, located behind the Producers Livestock Association and along the railroad tracks, contacted the land bank and were willing to work with it.
Duncan said they don’t know how much, if any, contamination the property has, but that it would be cleaned up if the grant money was received for the property.
For other Brownfield Grant projects, Mark Current, the Highland County Community Action housing director, said the county applied for three projects with the Brownfield Grant. They are the former Rocky Fork Truck Stop, the East Monroe Mill and the Elliott Hotel in Greenfield. However, he said those projects are at the stage of “approval under process” because the state seems to be moving “kind of slow.”
Matt Wagner, a certified professional from TetraTech, said the only thing the land bank has heard concerning the process is that it has about $500,000 left of the $1 million non-matched funds “which is a good thing to know.” He also said that the land bank hasn’t heard anything back about the grant agreements for the three projects or anything else the land bank needs to do.
Wagner said that Highland County Economic Director Julie Bolender, who is helping Current with some of the grant work and outreach, would try to contact the state to ask to extend the April 30 deadline because Highland County isn’t the only county with this kind of problem.
In other news, the land bank formally submitted the following properties for a Demolition and Revitalization Grant:
* Hillsboro properties — 314 John St., 775 N. West St., 127 Josie Ave., 331 Wellston St., 315 Wellston St., 622 S. East St., 454 E. Walnut St., 324 Johnson St., 416 Danville Pike, 123 Hill St., 529 E. Walnut St., 508 N. West St., a S.R. 73 state barn, 360 Johnson St., 453 E. Main St., 533 E. Walnut St., 229 E. South St. and 532 Johnson St.
* Mowrystown properties — 23 N. High St., 29 Maple St., 36 Maple St. and 81 Main St.
* Lynchburg properties — 113 S. Sycamore St., 222 Broadway St. and 410 E. Short St.
For this grant, the land bank discussed the way it would bid the work for these properties, and one of those ways was through packaging multiple properties together through geographic location. The land bank said properties closer together might also leave some bigger ones standalone.
“I appreciate everything everyone is doing,” Duncan said about the land bank process. “Thank you. It’s a process and it’s a slow one and it could be frustrating at times, but I feel like we’re making some headway.”
The next meeting of the land bank was scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday, April 21.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.