MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) - The $662,800 rehabilitation of a century-old apartment house marks the latest in a series of efforts to stabilize four blocks of Main Street.
An Old West End neighborhood anchor, the structure at the corner of Main Street/Ind. 32 and Kilgore Avenue is “highly, highly visible” to everyone driving out of downtown, said Brad King, president of the neighborhood association.
The rear of the 4,137-square-foot, two-story building is also conspicuous to motorists entering downtown at the intersection of Kilgore and West Jackson Street.
The elements were taking over after years of vacancy. Rain had buckled, rotted and collapsed floors, walls and ceilings. Vines crept up exterior walls. Demolition was likely.
The eight-month-long rehabilitation created jobs, preserved a historic structure, contributes to the historic character of the neighborhood, provides quality rental housing, eliminated an eyesore and prevented the site from becoming another empty lot, King said.
The project is also good for the downtown just several blocks away.
As downtown master plan consultant Gianni Longo, a New York City architect and urban designer, told Muncie officials several years ago, a downtown will not be successful “if you have to go through wasteland, the land of disinvestment,” to get to it.
King will be one of the tour guides at an open house for the property at 723 W. Main on Jan. 29. Tours will be given from 4 to 7 p.m. by King, Mayor Dennis Tyler, Community Development Director Terry Whitt Bailey, Center Township Trustee Kay Walker, emeritus architecture professor and Muncie Community School Board President Tony Costello, United Way President Jenni Marsh, state Rep. Sue Errington, MutualBank COO Pat Botts, city council member Linda Gregory and city human rights Director Yvonne Thompson.
“This is part of the continuing stabilization of the Old West End,” King told The Star Press (https://tspne.ws/1AEXEcT ). “That house is just on the northwest corner of the Old West End Historic District. It contributes to the overall architecture of the neighborhood.”
The project would not have been possible without a $500,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis, one of 12 regional banks that make up the Federal Home Loan Bank System. The privately capitalized and funded banks are government-sponsored enterprises created by Congress to ensure low-cost funding for their member financial institutions. They provide grants as well as loans.
The four energy-efficient units in what has been named Old West End Place Apartments will lease for $500 a month for the two upstairs rentals and $573 for the two larger downstairs rentals. Water, sewer, washers, dryers and kitchen appliances are provided.
The units are income restricted. The maximum annual household income to reside in the units is $22,260 for a one-person household; $25,440 for a two-person household; $28,620 for a three-person household; and $31,740 for a four-person household. Each unit has two bedrooms and one full bath.
The interior walls were painted with bright, historic colors that will provide tenants “something to start with even if they don’t have a lot of furniture,” said Brian Hollars, the project’s architect. He called the colors fun and powerful.
He referred to the renovation as “a beachhead” on “a prominent corner in the neighborhood” that will inspire people.
“If it’s going to be a neighborhood, people need to live in it,” he said.
The project also couldn’t have happened without PathStone Corp., a nonprofit organization serving low-income families and economically depressed communities in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, Vermont and Puerto Rico.
MutualBank gave the apartment house to PathStone, and, as a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank System, applied for the subsidy funds to rehab it.
The city of Muncie also earmarked $86,700 in federal affordable housing dollars for the project. PathStone is contributing another $30,000, and Mutual Bank approved a small loan for the rest of the funding.
The city and nonprofits already have spent more than $1 million in federal Neighborhood Stabilization 3 funds on housing projects in the 400 to 700 blocks of West Main, including historic, formerly vacant Victorian Place Apartments at 703 W. Main and a formerly vacant, burned-out, century-old brick apartment building at Main and Council streets.
Information from: The Star Press, https://www.thestarpress.com
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