Harlem city officials might soon be able to offer property owners low-interest loans to rehabilitate dilapidated properties.
The City Council agreed at Monday's monthly meeting to pay the Regional Development Center to survey and photograph several properties that might qualify for a federal Environmental Protection Agency Brownfield Grant.
The grant, which could be upwards of $2 million, could be awarded to the city for low-interest loans to owners of specific types of property such as former gas station and manufacturing locations, Mayor Scott Dean said. Rehabilitation of these properties would otherwise be too expensive and the properties, such as the former Thomson Co. location, would remain dormant and dilapidated.
"This is a good opportunity for Harlem if we could get grants to help bring these properties back up to viable properties," City Manager Jean Dove said.
The five properties in question include the Thomson Co., a former textile manufacturing plant that has asbestos roofing; a former service station location; the city's lone downtown feed and seed business, which is built atop underground tanks; and a former dry cleaning location that has underground tanks. All except the feed and seed business have been closed for a long time because the cost to property owners to remove possible environmental hazards is often too high, officials said.
Dean said the grant, which will turn into a revolving loan for redevelopment, has unlimited potential.
"They can redevelop it, do more than what they are doing with it," he said.
If awarded, the grant would be awarded to the city to give loans. When the loans are repaid, Dean said, the money can be loaned again for more redevelopment.
The RDC will determine which properties qualify for the grant.
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