A vacant strip mall along Madison Avenue has long been an eyesore, but Greenwood wants to convert the land into green space as a gateway into the city.

The Greenwood Redevelopment Commission is considering purchasing the property on the southeast side of the Madison Avenue and County Line Road intersection for $1.1 million. The plan is to demolish the building, tear up the pot-hole riddled parking lot and convert the land into a grassy field.

Then, the public would be asked what further development should take place at the site.

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Purchasing the property at 1265 Madison Ave. is the right thing to do for the community, Greenwood Redevelopment Commission president Brent Tilson said.

“It is a distressed property, hurting values around it as it continues to decline,” he said.

The strip mall does not currently house any tenants, but the building used to include a restaurant, church and other businesses. It is across Madison Avenue from the Greenwood Park Mall and was damaged in the flood of 2008 when waters rose from nearby Pleasant Run Creek.

A previous owner of the 50,000 square foot strip mall filed for bankruptcy in 2013, having faced challenges in getting tenants after the flood. The property is now owned by a national investment firm.

The property is bordered by apartments and neighborhoods on the east and southeast sides, and other commercial development to the north.

The condition of the property has been a common complaint from residents.

“I don’t know of one other building since I’ve started working here that has gotten as many comments as being an eyesore,” Greenwood Capital Projects Manager Kevin Steinmetz said. “It reflects poorly on the area.”

Because the property is almost entirely in a flood zone, opportunities for private development are limited and would be mostly restricted to operations such as a used car lot or a flea market, neither of which would be ideal for the location, he said.

The city is offering $1.1 million for the property after having two appraisals of the site, which is required by state law, Tilson said.

The cost of demolition has been estimated at $250,000, Steinmetz said.

How the city will pay for the demolition hasn’t been determined. The redevelopment commission, stormwater board and parks board could all be involved, he said.

The city has kept it’s eye on the property for several years, looking for an opportunity to purchase it, Steinmetz said

“While it is a busy intersection, a green space or park would be a good addition to the community,” he said. “It would soften that already heavy retail and concrete world at Madison Avenue.”

The Greenwood Parks and Recreation Department doesn’t have any plan for what it would do with the property, but some possibilities include walking paths that connect neighborhoods, Greenwood Parks and Recreation Department director Rob Taggart said.

If the property is purchased in August, the goal would be to complete demolition work by the end of the year, Steinmetz said.

A timeline hasn’t been set for work after that, but the goal is to gather input from residents as to what they want the property to become, Tilson said.

“We want to make it an asset versus an eyesore,” he said.

The redevelopment commission conducted its first meeting to consider purchasing the property earlier this week. A vote on whether to purchase the land will take place at the board’s August meeting.

One side benefit of purchasing the property is that the owner — a national investment firm — will be required to pay more than $100,000 in delinquent property taxes on the property, Steinmetz said.

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.