Vacant home adjacent to Coon Rapids park acquired by HRA

A residential property adjacent to Peppermint Stick Park has been acquired by the Coon Rapids Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA).

The HRA, which comprises the seven members of the Coon Rapids City Council, authorized the purchase of the property for $85,000 through the scattered sites acquisition program.

The property at 2208 115th Avenue N.W. is at the corner of 115th and Raven Street and surrounded by the park.

According to Matt Brown, city community development specialist, the home on the property is in poor condition and has been on the market for several months.

“Given its condition, staff feels that the property is an appropriate candidate for the scattered sites acquisition program, which involves acquisition and demolition of ‘bad apple’ houses,” Brown wrote in his report and recommendation to the HRA.

The property was most recently listed for $99,000 and staff has negotiated a sale price of $85,000, he wrote.

While that’s more than the $75,000 limit the HRA placed on sale prices for scattered sites acquisition, Brown told the HRA that the property is one acre in size instead of a typical residential size lot.

Typically, once the scattered sites property is acquired and the house demolished, the city puts the lot on the market for sale for a new single-family home to be built to standards established by the HRA.

Not this time. According to Brown, the plan is to hold the lot until specific improvements to Peppermint Stick Park are identified.

“If it is determined that the lot should be incorporated into the park, it could by deeded to the city,” Brown wrote.

In the recently-completed city parks master plan, Peppermint Stick Park is identified as not currently functioning at an acceptable level and the plan recommends major upgrades.

“Adding this land to the park could resolve the issues of poor access and lack of parking,” Brown wrote.

“Staff recommends holding the lot at 2208 115th Ave. until a more detailed improvement plan for the park is completed.”

According to Brown, if it is decided that adding the property to the park is not necessary, then the HRA could sell the lot for construction of a house.

“Despite its large size, the lot could not be subdivided due to its small amount of street frontage,” Brown wrote.

“However, it would be possible to create a smaller lot and transfer a portion of the land to the city for incorporation into the park.”

Money for the purchase has been taken from the HRA’s scattered sites acquisition account, which received an initial infusion of cash from the Coon Rapids Mortgage Assistance Foundation and has since derived revenues from the sale of lots acquired through the program.

The mortgage assistance foundation was established in 1979 to allow the city to issue low interest housing bonds to boost new housing construction at a time of high interest rates.

The $45 million housing revenue bond issue was paid off in March 2003.

Mortgage payments from homeowners who benefited from the bond issue paid off the bonds.

And the money that has built up in the foundation coffers over the years has been allocated, for the most part, to housing-related projects in Coon Rapids to enhance the city’s housing stock.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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