Changes mulled for CDBG funds

If approved by the state, $67,500 of 2013 Community Development Block Grant funding is to be shifted from the demolition of The Salvation Army building to the demolition of the former Stalsworth Hotel and livery buildings.

Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. Director of Development Karen Bowers said during a public hearing Monday the original CDBG funding project was demolition of The Salvation Army building at 45 S. Monroe St.

In the environmental review on the Salvation Army property, the Ohio Historic Preservation Office raised an objection to the demolition, stating the building was old enough to have historic value and was part of the downtown historic district, Bowers said.

Due to the objection, she said a series of steps had to occur to use the funding for demolition of The Salvation Army building. In going through the process, Bowers said an interested party said they would consider purchasing the building.

Because of the request, Bowers said the process of pursuing demolition of The Salvation Army building has been halted and an amendment is being considered to shift the funding toward the demolition of the Stalsworth property.

“What we intend to do is substitute one project – the demolition of The Salvation Army – for the second project, which is the demolition of the (Stalsworth) hotel and the livery building to the rear,” she said.

Although Ohio has put a stop to most amendments as they usually lead to requests for extensions, Bowers said the state would entertain an amendment to CDBG funding if the Ohio Historic Preservation Office agrees to the change.

Since the Stalsworth property is in the same census tract and is close to The Salvation Army building, Bowers said the initial parameters of the project would not change, other than the building is not within the historic district.

Bowers said the Ohio Historic Preservation Office approved the proposed amendment July 10.

A state CDBG oversight panel must approve the amendment.

The cost for demolition of the Stalsworth Hotel, the livery building and the partial demolition of the Salvation Army building, along with the additional costs to leave part of the building in place, totals $235,230.

Bowers said the city could save $67,500 on demolition if approved by the state.

The project must be completed by the end of the year due to CDBG restrictions.

Councilman Rich Focht said with the time frame required for the program, demolition could begin in October if the amendment is approved.