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Local officials now say a downtown Defiance development demolition project that has been delayed could be completed this summer.

Last year, Defiance City Council approved the purchase of three buildings in the 100 block of Clinton Street — due south of the new Purple Heart Bridge over the Maumee River — utilizing Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) grant funds.

The city had hoped to have the buildings torn down by now, but attempts to design a plan to separate the Spanky’s Bar property from one structure to be removed has slowed things down.

“We want to make sure the Spanky’s building is in good condition” following demolition of the other buildings, explained Matt Spiess of Maumee Valley Planning Organization which is administering the FEMA grant funds.

However, he is hopeful a demolition contract can be awarded this spring.

“It’s our hope that we will be putting that out to bid for demolition contractors” in May or June, he said. “... It’s my hope that we’ve got that project in the rearview mirror in July.”

He told The Crescent-News that deed restrictions require grass to be planted on the site and prohibit a new building because the land is in a floodplain and FEMA grant funds are involved.

What will follow on the property is still under discussion by city officials, but will be limited due to the flood plain issue. A small park or amphitheater are among the options being considered as part of riverfront development there.

A local architecture firm (Beilharz) has provided the city with design ideas.

The three buildings that will come down on the west side of Clinton’s 100 block — at 106 110/114 and 118 Clinton — were purchased by the city from Mark and Amy Haver.

Grant funds from the federal and state emergency management agencies will cover most of the purchase and demolition cost, estimated at just under $1 million. The city’s share is 12.5%.

The purchase price was $689,415, including related costs, according to Finance Director John Lehner. The city’s share of that is about $86,000.

Windows in the building closest to the Maumee River have been boarded up, but Defiance City Administrator Jeff Leonard told council Tuesday night that this was due to vandalism.

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