Shamokin to use state grant to buy, demolish three blighted buildings
SHAMOKIN - City council moved Monday to use state grant money to purchase blighted properties from Northumberland County Tax Claims.
A portion of Shamokin's Keystone Communities Grant allocation of $110,374 will be used to buy and demolish 1-3 S. First St., 133-135 S. Shamokin St. and 726 E. Sunbury St.
Each property will be sold to the city for $1, Jan Nestico, tax claims director, said Tuesday. She estimated processing costs at less than $200 each.
Once the deeds belong to Shamokin, bid specifications for the demolition project will be created and advertised. Code Officer Rick Bozza said Tuesday he expects the bid package to be prepared within a month.
Similar properties are planned for purchase in the future. Bozza said the city will buy and demolish them in bunches, ensuring the funding is used wisely.
"We don't want to buy 10 and only have enough money to knock down eight," he said.
Bozza and Cpl. Bryan Primerano worked in tandem in January to identify potential properties for demolition including on Bear Valley Avenue, South Market Street and Mount Carmel Street (Route 61).
The three properties addressed Monday were initially identified by Bozza to be demolished using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. However, he said they've since been transferred to the Keystone program.
Shamokin's Keystone allocation represents its share of $500,000 awarded to Northumberland County Housing Authority for blight remediation. It's being matched with an additional $73,800 in CDBG funds.
The Northumberland County Housing Authority used pledges of CDBG funding from five communities - Coal Township, Mount Carmel, Shamokin, Sunbury and Ralpho Township - as leverage in applying for the Keystone grant. Additional matching funds through the county's own CDBG program as well as the county housing trust fund brings the total to more than $1 million.
The Keystone funds must be used by June 30, 2015.