Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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October 21, 2013

City seeks to buy properties

Housing development planned on Apperson Way in downtown.

The Kokomo Common Council will consider a resolution today authorizing the city to purchase 19 properties along Apperson Way between Jefferson and Jackson streets.

The properties may become the a downtown housing development being pursued by city officials and a private developer.

The Kokomo Plan Commission gave a favorable recommendation to rezone the 19 properties from several different zoning classifications, including R4 (medium density urban residential) to M2 (general multifamily residential).

The city is starting the process to obtain appraisals on the properties located east of Apperson Way.

“We’re working with a developer right now,” Goodnight said. “We’re applying for a tax credit from the state by the Nov. 1 deadline. It is a competitive process, so there is no guarantee.”

Goodnight said other plans have not been finalized though the city has a conceptual drawing from the potential developer of what the project will look like when completed.

The preliminary design is for between 60 and 70 two and three bedroom units.

Goodnight said the private investment in the development is estimated at between $7.5 million and 8.5 million.

He said purchase of the properties could be a part of the city’s contribution, which will also include new sidewalks and landscaping.

Some of the money to buy the properties will come from a federal Community Development Block Grant and local road and street funds.

“Our goal is to start with site preparation work in late spring,” Goodnight said. “This is the redevelopment of a blighted area. It is less expensive to build because we have existing infrastructure. There is no need to construct a new fire station, we are already policing the area and sanitary sewers are located in the area.”

A number of housing projects are underway in the city. They include: at the former Kingston factory site, the intersection of Washington and Taylor streets, veterans housing on Jackson Street, west of Apperson Way, off-campus housing for Indiana University Kokomo on Washington Street and more are planned on a parking garage to be built on Union Street.

“There is a need for affordable housing in the city,” Goodnight said. “Marketing studies have shown there is a need.

“Young people want to live in an urbanized area,” he said. “Baby boomers want to move back into an urban setting.”

The council meets at 7 p.m. in the council chambers of city hall.

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