- Associated Press - Sunday, March 27, 2016

RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) - A renovated home with ties to Wayne County’s industrial history has been sold, and the renovators are selecting their next project to tackle.

Richmond Neighborhood Restoration Inc., a local nonprofit, had selected 36 S. 19th St. for its first project.

Renovations were completed before the home went on the market in January, and the deal closed Thursday.

The historic home appealed to Marco and Lisa Rankin, who will move to town with their three young children from Indianapolis. Marco is a Richmond native who graduated from Richmond High School, Earlham College and Ball State University, and Lisa has Ohio ties. She works at the Indiana University School of Medicine’s neuroscience center, and Marco works in the medical school’s clinical trials office.

In a letter to RNR, Lisa said the Rankins were impressed with the beautiful work done on the home and were smitten with its beauty, warmth and functionality.

“We’ve been looking to move into a bigger home in a nice area with good schools and a family friendly atmosphere,” Lisa wrote. “We felt we found it all when we saw your home on 19th Street.”

RNR, made up of a group of community leaders, took on the risk to renovate the 1906 William F. Bockhoff House without relying on public money.

Bockhoff lived in the American Four Square home during his tenure as president of National Automatic Tool Company (NATCO) from 1911 until his death in 1928.

Those on the committee wanted to prove to themselves and to the city that the project was possible and that local properties are viable for redevelopment.

RNR aims to get more properties back on the tax rolls and strengthen neighborhoods and the city’s real estate market.

“They’ve been a dream to work with,” said Jamie Clark, associate broker for Lingle Real Estate. “RNR is a real asset to the community. They’ve been very helpful.”

Clark said RNR even made a few changes to the house after learning the Rankins had hoped the laundry room was in a different spot.

Clark represented the Rankins through the transaction. Marco had seen pictures of historic homes online and contacted Clark for more information. At first, he didn’t realize the Bockhoff house was in Richmond but was excited to make that discovery.

“We felt God placed a mantle on our lives to do ministry work in Richmond, to be a light in the darkness and preach to the disheartened,” Marco said. He felt he left Richmond with work undone, and he hopes to help local young people who grew up poor like he did, possibly through a music program. His master’s degree is in choral conducting.

“It’s so exciting to see people moving in from out of town,” Clark said. “I get calls from all over the country. People are amazed by our architecture, and they want to move to Richmond because of that. It’s really exciting.”

The Bockhoff house was donated to RNR by Wells Fargo Bank and the city of Richmond. A low-interest loan from West End Bank provided funds needed for the project.

“A lot of people came together to make this project happen,” Clark said.

Some other local businesses or organizations assisting with the renovation included First Choice Home Inspections, Indiana Home Staging, Radford’s Meat Market & Deli, Queen Bee Confections, Southside Heating & Supply, Lowe’s, Georgia Direct, Rose City Nursery, Q7 Associates, J&J; Winery, Catron’s Glass, A Limb Above, Harrington-Hoch Insurance, Clifton Custom Wood Products and Stegner Restoration. Some provided items or services free or at cost.

President Chad Stegner said RNR is pleased with the success of its first project and wants to get started on the second.

The group aims to research, procure, purchase, rehabilitate and resell buildings, sites, structures or other elements within Richmond and the Wayne County area that are of historic or architectural value.

Stegner said the group has looked at several properties in the past couple of months and has narrowed its list to five. Within the next 90 days, RNR hopes to get started on a second home.

Stegner said the board is trying to find the right size of a project that can be successful because some restoration projects would require a lot of fundraising.

“This is all new to us, and we’re learning,” Stegner said. “We’re getting our feet wet.”

RNR leaders want to stimulate the revitalization of Richmond’s historic neighborhoods through economic development, community development, citizen participation and historic preservation.

“I’m so excited to see their next project,” Clark said about RNR. “They can help propel Richmond’s historic architecture to the next level.”

The group welcomes more community involvement for future projects.

Stegner was thrilled more than 100 attended RNR’s open house for the Bockhoff home in January.

“Business and city leaders were present, along with neighbors who live near the house,” Stegner said. “Everyone’s enthusiasm was very encouraging. It made us realize how important this project was, and even more, our role in this community in taking properties like this one to a restored state.”

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Source: (Richmond) Palladium-Item, https://pinews.co/1UHeq63

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Information from: Palladium-Item, https://www.pal-item.com

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