Thursday, May 14 2009
Evansville is using money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help revitalize an area of the city. Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel says six homes have already been completed in the Front Door Pride Focus Area, with plans to have up to 20 built by the end of the year. City officials selected the area for federal stimulus investment because of the number of historic homes with rehabilitation potential and blighted homes in need of demolition.
(EVANSVILLE, IN) – Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel marked the completion of two new Front Door Pride homes today by highlighting the noticeable changes the program is making in that area.
Currently, there are 10 lots ready for construction in the Front Door Pride Focus Area; 3 more are waiting for historical clearance. The City plans to have up to 20 new homes constructed in the Focus Area by year’s end, which will be funded with INTR grants and money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Six homes have already been completed including the two unveiled today at 1211 Judson and 39 Jefferson; 5 of those have been sold. The Focus Area is roughly bound by Chestnut, Garvin, Riverside and Veteran’s Memorial Parkway. The area was chosen because of the historic homes with rehab potential and the number of blighted homes in need of demolition as well as the proximity of the Alhambra Theatre and Haynie’s Corner Arts District as focal points
The Evansville Redevelopment Commission and the Evansville Brownfields Corporation own an additional 54 parcels in the Focus Area, with acquisition of another 145 parcels pending. Abandoned or dilapidated structures on these parcels may be rehabilitated or demolished to further the goal of creating a mixed income neighborhood while eliminating blighted housing. Small parcels may be cleared to create side yards for existing homes or combined with adjacent unimproved parcels to create larger lots for new home construction.
Since the beginning of 2009, 20 structures have been razed by the City, and 2 more by their owners, in the Focus Area. Another 17 demolitions are pending. Compare that to 2006-2008, when only 29 structures were razed in 3 years.
“People who haven’t been to this area in a while will be able to see a noticeable change in its appearance. There could be a total of 18 new homes in the Focus Area if we build on all the lots that are currently available,” said Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel. “You will find straw covering many vacant lots where eyesores no longer stand. These are all signs that we are making good progress toward restoring this neighborhood.”
A new phase of the Front Door Pride program is also about to begin. The home at 22 Jefferson Avenue will be the City’s first complete home rehab project. The inside of the home is currently being prepared and the project will be let for bid shortly. A second rehab will take place at 1112 Parrett with several also possible along Washington Avenue. More rehabs will begin as properties are purchased and inspected to determine if they are suitable for restoration.
The City and HOPE of Evansville are using a $1 million INTR grant from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority to provide subsidies of up to $25,000 toward the construction cost of each new home.
“Our goal is to make the dream of affordable housing come true for families across Indiana,” said Sherry Seiwert, Executive Director of Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. “The INTR program was created with the purpose of redeveloping distressed areas across Indiana and, one home at a time, creating affordable, family-friendly neighborhoods in communities like Evansville. I firmly believe that communities are strengthened by safe and affordable housing, and I am pleased with the progress in this community.”
Due to grant restrictions, homes must be sold to individuals or families at or below 80% of area median income (see chart below). Qualified buyers may receive an allowance of up to $5,000 to assist them with down payment and closing cost expenses.
Maximum Annual Household Gross Income
1 person - $33,500 4 people - $47,850
2 people - $38,300 5 people - $51,700
3 people - $43,050 6 people - $55,500
Buyers must also complete a pre-purchase homebuyer’s class and make a minimum down payment of $500. People who are interested should contact HOPE of Evansville (423-3169), a local non-profit agency which is partnering with the City of Evansville to administer the program.
Source: City of Evansville & Inside INdiana Business