Goshen Redevelopment donates Hawks building to LaCasa

Donation could help organization receive $500,000 grant

Posted on June 11, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on June 11, 2013 at 7:55 p.m.

GOSHEN — In a significant change from the original agreement, Goshen’s Redevelopment Commission has agreed to donate the Hawks building to LaCasa Inc.

To improve its chances of LaCasa’s rehabilitation project qualifying for a $500,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank, the organization requested the commission donate the building.

LaCasa President Larry Gautsche explained that the competitive grants are given out according to a points system, and that the donation would increase the project’s score by five points.

“It just shows the local community’s commitment to the project,” he said.

In return for the commission’s donation, LaCasa agreed to immediately assume responsibility for all future maintenance and repairs for the building.

The organization also agreed to make an $80,000 contribution to the cost of constructing a public parking lot that will serve the neighboring area. It will also reimburse the city $4,000 that will cover the cost to remove a foot of excess soil on the property, bringing the total contribution to $84,000.

Before the amendment to the agreement, the city would have had to continue paying for maintenance and repairs until the sale was finalized and was solely responsible for the parking lot.

The only commissioner to vote against the contract modification was Jeremy Stutsman, who said he didn’t think the $84,000 contribution was sufficient compared with the original asking price of $162,664.

“They do a great job, I’m a big supporter of LaCasa,” Stutsman said, “but I think it just gets us a little bit more for all the money we’re putting into it.”

“It’s hard to put a value on what the maintenance cost is, not knowing what’s going to happen with the building,” Community Development Director Mark Brinson stated.

Gautsche, for his part, noted that by taking control of the building now, LaCasa takes on the risk of all future work that may arise and that seemed like a fair trade-off in his mind.

Commission President Tom Stump stated he was glad to let the building become LaCasa’s responsibility.

“Every so often we get like the brick situation,” Stump explained. “That’s something we didn’t know we were going to have, and we still have a problem like that.”

“I feel comfortable with (Gautsche) having those problems,” he added. “It takes some concern off my mind about that building and how it’s going to last.”

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