County Administration has new arrangement to deal with idle properties - Delaforum.com
County has new arrangement to deal with idle properties
After several years of trying, county government has found a resident curator for one of the five unused houses it offered in the most recent iteration of the program.
Mike Svaby, of the Department of Special Services, told a County Council committee that Jane Katsnelson has agreed to provide "historically compliant restoration" and subsequent maintenance in return for an open-ended lease to live in the historic house in Banning Park, near Newport, rent- and tax-free
That was the only one of the five properties -- three in Brandywine Hundred -- offered in the latest iteration of the curatorship program to be spoken for.
He said two proposals were received for the farmhouse in Bechtel Park, off Naamans Road. One was later withdrawn and the use proposed in the other was deemed inappropriate in that location. There were "several nibbles" for the farmhouse in Jester Park, off Grubb Road, but no actual proposals. A portion of that farm is now being leased to Hy-Point Dairy as a grazing area for cows. No one expressed interest in the house in Talley-Day Park.
Those properties, and one in Glasgow Park, have been withdrawn from the curatorship program and are being evaluated for placement in what Svavy described as a new four-tier system for finding uses for several county-owned properties. They will be classified as ready for rent at 'fair market' rates after minimal work at county expense to make them "safe and functional"; available for long-term lease to someone who will perform necessary renovation at their expense; suitable for the curatorship program; or demolished because needed renovation would be cost-prohibitive.
Although he said no final decision has been made, he and County Councilman Robert Weiner, in whose district it is located, indicated at the meeting on June 5 that they feel demolition is likely.
Svaby said classifying more than a dozen other properties is being done after "circumspect evaluation."
Included among examples he cited was the 'Streed house' in the area of Talley-Day Park which fronts on Wilson Road. He said that is likely to be offered for rent after a county-sponsored summer program involving what is considered a good illustration of an early-20th Century farm is complete. Still to be determined, he said, is the fate of several other structures on the property.
Also being evaluated and likely to be offered for rent are the 'gardener's cottage' and very small 'porter's lodge' in Rockwood Mansion Park, off Washington Street Extension just north of Wilmington.
Svaby said the objective of the new system is to provide county government with some revenue from presently idle assets while eliminating costs associated with them.
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