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Division Street factory faces demolition

The city of Elkhart plans to demolish an old abandoned factory on the east end of Divison Street.
Posted on April 25, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on April 25, 2013 at 6:19 p.m.

ELKHART — Aluminum siding hanging off the side of the building creeks in the wind and large patches of paint cover up graffiti on several sides of building at 511 Division St.

An attached home to the west has stickers on the door that reference old code violations.

But in a few months, the old Federal Press facility at the corner of Division Street and Waterfall Drive in Elkhart will be nothing more than a memory.

An accelerated effort to remove the blighted building began recently when Elkhart city officials were contacted by representatives of Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, said Denny Correll, brownfield coordinator for the city of Elkhart.

The city has been removing numerous blighted industrial properties in recent years and still has more to manage. The city chose to use the money on this one next because, in part, the roof has collapsed.

Correll said he believes the state agency turned to Elkhart “because the city has done a good job with the money they’ve been given.”

On Thursday, April 25, the city’s redevelopment commission agreed to purchase the land from RG Division Real Estate for $28,000.

The city will then formally apply for grant money and then prepare demolition plans, Correll said.

He said the pending plan is a win-win situation for everyone involved.

The city will have to provide a ten percent match in exchange for the anticipated $250,00 in grant money, but Correll described that as “a small price to pay” in exchange for money that will cover the cost of demolition, property acquisition and administrative costs.”

The 17,000-square-foot building sits on the eastern edge of the historic State-Division residential district and west of Elkhart Central High School.

“Nothing good is going to happen there,” as long as the building remains, Correll said.

The dilapidated building has sat empty for years and the property was once considered by Elkhart Schools Corporation as a possible location for sports fields.

The attached residential property will also be part of the demolition. That side of the property has a crumbling concrete parking area that is partially cordoned off with a fence.

The city has no plans to immediately redevelop the land. After demolition, it will be landscaped with grass seed.

The city’s most recent industrial demolition, 700 W. Beardsley, has finished its first phase and all above-ground signs of the historic building are gone. The city will now undertake a second phase in which workers will test and remove any underground contamination.

Correll said he doesn’t expect much if any contamination to be found on the property. The city plans to use grant money for any cleanup.

He predicted the project would be complete by July. The land would then be seeded and the city will seek offers to redevelop the land.




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