The Knox City Council this week approved the purchase of five lots in Parkview Heights, each of which was up for tax sale in the county but, because it was up for tax sale previously and did not sell, the city was able to purchase the properties for $35 each from the county. The city has acquired more than a dozen properties in the neighborhood, and Mayor Rick Chambers said the city is looking into options as far as what they can do to improve Parkview Heights and make it a safer place to live.
To that end, the city council met this week with Anne Mannix of Neighborhood Development Associates, a company that was established in 1999 to provide assistance to non-profit developers and communities with planning and implementing affordable housing developments and community projects. Mannix offered up two options for the city to possibly pursue.
The first option would allow Neighborhood Development to assist the city with identifying unsafe or abandoned properties in Parkview Heights to be acquired by the city, estimating the costs of any project they may decide to look into, and preparation of the application for funding and developing a strategy. This option would involve applying for a grant from the Blight Elimination Program. These services come at a cost of $5000.
The second option involves the preparation of a feasibility study for a comprehensive redevelopment of Parkview Heights, at a considerably higher cost.
Chambers said he would like to have discussions with county officials to see if the county would like to participate in the project, but emphasized that this project is a long time down the road, and the city is just getting their foot in the door to get started.
A motion was made and approved to proceed with the first option at a cost of $5000 to be paid out of EDIT funds.
Chambers said this is just a grant the city is looking into applying for, to be used to fund a project to buy and demolish abandoned and unsafe homes in Parkview Heights. He emphasized that this project will not involved evicting people from their homes. The goal, he said, is to make Parkview Heights safer by removing dilapidated structures.