MANSFIELD -- An old abandoned community center will soon be razed to make way for a senior housing unit in Mansfield’s North End.
At its Oct. 7 meeting, the Richland County Land Bank board voted to transfer the deed for the former Wilbur H. Flippin Community Action Center building on Annadale Avenue to Crestline-based R&D Excavating LLC.
Per a deed restriction, R&D agreed to demolish all existing structures within 12 months and build at least one double within the next two years.
An analysis of the property found asbestos in the form of pipe insulation, tank insulation, in the fire door, can lights, floor debris, floor tile, and window glaze. The estimated cost to abate the property is $54,000.
Ryan Lykins of R&D says the company will handle the abatement and demolition. Afterwards, he plans to construct up to 50 housing units in the form of senior living doubles over the next 10 years.
“We're still planning on having the school down this year, get the soil and everything pushed off to one side so if it's mild winter, we can start laying the sewer and deal with the engineering,” Lykins said.
While the Mansfield Police Department only received four calls related to the property over the last year, Chief Keith Porch said any abandoned building has the potential to attract “squatting, suspicious activity or drug activity.”
“Any time you remove an abandoned structure to replace it with a new one or something with purpose, it's obviously a benefit to the community,” Porch said.
Before it closed, the building was a daycare center run by the Mansfield Richland Morrow Total Operation Against Poverty, a now defunct organization.
Land bank manager Amy Hamrick also announced the board has been awarded another $62,500 from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency’s Neighborhood Initiative Program (NIP).
NIP funds are awarded to Ohio land banks on a first-come, first-served basis to demolish vacant, blighted structures in an effort to stabilize property values and create a “blank slate” for new development.
The land bank has demolished 258 structures with NIP funding since its inception in 2014.
Land banks must have projects in place to receive funding. The Richland County Land Bank has received multiple rounds of funding, even after the application process ended.
“What's happened is they keep emailing us and saying ‘Do you have anything available?’ " board chairman Bart Hamilton said. "We've been smart enough and we planned ahead, to have stuff available, in case this happened.
"So we've just put ourselves in the right place at the right time."
Hamilton said it’s “not going to be a problem” to spend the funds by the end of 2020, as required by the program.