VINCENNES, IND. (WTHI) - A failed housing project has a southern Indiana county looking to reclaim some old property.
Several years ago Knox County deeded over the old Hillcrest Building and 2 and one half acres of land to Southern Indiana Home Ownership Incorporated to turn the former hospital into affordable housing.
Local officials now say the project is not going to happen and it is time to take the property back.
Hillcrest Park is a colorful place in the fall with upgrades that include playground equipment, new roofs on the shelter houses, even a disc golf course, but the top of the property has a big problem.
The old burned out Hillcrest Hospital building is a boarded up, run down mess.
"The group that had plans to turn it into affordable housing, their plans didn't work out." said Knox County Council Vice-President Bob Lechner. "The economy I think took them south and it appears that's no longer even a viable option."
"We just thought that since it didn't look like any development project was going to happen at the building it probably would be best for us to take it back because we wouldn't have issues with what is technically right now trespassing," said Knox County Parks Superintendent Rama Sobhani.
The parks department says it has maintained the grounds adjacent to the building, and it is an area that the public uses even though the county no longer owns it.
While the parks department may have plans for the land, the old building doesn't have much of a future.
"The building has been completely stripped out, and there is really nothing there," said Lechner, "and in all likelihood the building has no practical purpose."
"It would cost too much to rehabilitate it," added Sobhani. "Our budget isn't anywhere near adequate to what it would take to do anything so no, we have no interest in the building."
That could leave the county with an eyesore at the top of the park until someone new takes on the old facility or it comes down.
The county council has asked the commissioners to begin the legal proceedings to reclaim the property.
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