Albion’s inactive Urban Renewal Agency dissolved by state

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 October 2014 at 12:00 am

Village will instead use LDC to address some sites

Photos by Tom Rivers – The village will use a recently formed LDC, the Albion Housing and Economic Development Corporation, to help with the removal or clean up of run-down sites, including this house at 136 Liberty St. The village agreed to take ownership of this house and a neighboring vacant building with a goal of demolition and reuse of the sites across from the new Hoag Library.

ALBION – A village agency, once tasked with demolition and renewal, is no more. Residents probably never heard of the Albion Urban Renewal Agency. In fact, current village officials weren’t too familiar with it.

The agency hadn’t done anything – accepted or spent any money – in at least two decades. On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that will eliminate the Albion agency and 35 other urban renewal agencies or industrial development authorities. The groups existed, but hadn’t been active in years.

There is scant information on the Albion Urban Renewal Agency, according to current village officials. They believe it helped facilitate an apartment complex on West Park Street about 40 years ago.

“We have no purpose for it,” said Ron Vendetti, the village code enforcement officer.

He is thankful the Urban Renewal Agency wasn’t more active in Albion. Some of the urban renewal agencies took down grand mansions and historic downtown buildings in other communities in the 1970s.

“Back then they knocked down buildings and ruined some communities,” he said.

Albion still sees a need for an agency or local development corporation to help with some building demolitions and economic development projects.

Albion would like to see this house at 132 Liberty St. demolished and cleared to make way for a new development.

The village has created the Albion Housing and Economic Development Corporation. One of its first projects will be facilitating the removal of two run-down houses at 132 and 136 Liberty streets. The county has forgiven about $60,000 in back taxes for two houses. The Village Board agreed to have the village take ownership of the sites, accepting liability as well.

The houses are across the street from the new Hoag Library. There is a vacant site next door to the south of the two buildings. Vendetti believes the site has potential for redevelopment for housing because of the close proximity to the library and other businesses.

“We think the LDC is much more forward-thinking than the Urban Renewal Agency,” Vendetti said.