David Dardzinski briefs a group of interested residents about homes that are being dealt with in Little Falls.

by Dave Warner

A large part of the evening was taken up by members of the Greater Mohawk Valley Land Bank explaining to the audience how they were formed, how many people are involved in the land bank, and how difficult the process can be at times to get the rights to a property before they can ever really deal with it.

When they turned their attention to Little Falls, they discussed 32 Furnace Street, 76-78 Furnace Street, 1347 Top Notch Road, and 59 Glen Avenue.

According to David Dardzinski regarding 32 Furnace Street “This has been processed for asbestos testing, lead testing and the environmental surveys are completed. The goal here is to partner with Mohawk Valley Community College to have onsite classrooms. Students will be coming to this house to actually do restoration and repair as they’re learning how to do it.”

“Once they’re finished with the rehab, we’ll sell it,” he said.

On 76-78 Furnace Street, Dardzinski said “This is a four unit building that the land bank owns. We took four dumpsters of rubbish out of this building and completed the asbestos, lead and environmental surveys.”

They are also looking at purchasing the property right next door. “This one is in much worse condition structurally as it has a lot of roof leaks and damage on interior walls. The hope is that we can acquire this and take it down and create parking for 76-78 Furnace Street,” Dardzinski stated.

They are also looking at 208 Loomis Street. The land bank doesn’t own it yet, but the county has agreed to transfer ownership. “However, we are insuring the property, even though we don’t own it yet,” he said. “This is also a demolition.”

On 59 Glen Avenue, “The land bank purchased this. It’s an empty lot with a driveway on it.”

Regarding 1347 Top Notch Road, Dardzinski said “The land bank owns this and asbestos, lead and environmental studies have been completed. Asbestos abatement has been completed. An electrical contractor is slated to start next week to update the panels. This is going to be a full rehab and we’re currently searching for funding for that.”

Dardzinski went on to say that the land bank has spent money in Little Falls on purchases and legal fees, insurance, paid some back taxes in some cases, paid to remove some debris and perform maintenance and clean up the properties. “We’ve undertaken some renovations on these properties already, so we’ve spent about $37,000 to date.”

After the property update, Dardzinski went on to explain how and why Main Street First became the Worthy Partner in Little Falls and what they do and how they work with the land bank. “We’re sort of the keeper of the keys,” he said. “The Worthy Partner is sort of the eyes and ears on the ground in the community.”

He also stated “We’re the organizing, and coordinating entity for the local project selection committee. The land bank needs us to vet the properties in the City to give them a short list to review.”

Dardzinski said “In our case, we should look at impact areas. We could talk about West Main St where the fire was, we could talk about Loomis Street or the South Side. There are numerous areas where there’s a significant congregation of blight. Do we want to do a shotgun approach? Or do we want to focus on an area this year and address the properties in that area? That’s for the property selection committee to decide.”

The group is interested in volunteers. “We’re going to ask each of the Common Council members to recommend one person for this committee, which would be eight people and we’re going to ask the City to recommend an elected official as well as an employee of the City. That will make up this project selection committee in Little Falls,” said Dardzinski.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Greater Mohawk Valley Land Bank and the properties that they are addressing in Little Falls, you can visit their website at https://www.gmvlb.org/