- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—A former rental property converted into a single-family home in Greenmont is almost ready to go to market.

Originally built in 1925, the house at 354 Overdale St. was purchased and renovated by the Fairmont-Morgantown Housing Authority (FMHA) in order the foster home ownership in the neighborhood.

Before FMHA purchased it, the house was split into three apartment units — the master bathroom was a kitchen for one of those units.

Now, the home is whole again, with three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms, off-street parking and 1,900 square feet of living space, not counting the attic and basement.

Renovations began in May and are nearly complete. An open house tour was held Monday evening.

“They left a lot of the character of the old house, which is nice,” said Greenmont resident Ivy Deal, who attended the open house. Her husband, Eric, said it was a great example of renovating a rental property into an inviting family home.

“Whoever buys this house is in for a good home,” he said. “It’s a great place to raise children.”

The Overdale Street home is the latest of FMHA’s Morgantown Homecoming Program, which aims to revitalize previous rental properties into single family homes through extensive renovations.

Lisa Darden, the FMHA sales and development coordinator, said this is made possible through owner-occupied deed restrictions to ensure long-term occupation by families, so the house doesn’t become a rental unit.

“It has not been purchases yet, but there are a lot of people who have expressed interest,” Darden said. “In a few weeks, it’ll be ready for occupancy. We’re still determining the price — an appraiser will be coming by on Thursday.”

Darden said the house will be sold at market rate. She said WVU has partnered with FMHA to provide a $10,000 down payment assistance grant for university staff or faculty who move into the home.

John Martys, the executive director of FMHA, said this is just the beginning. He wants to form partnerships with other area employers such as Mylan, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and others to set up home payment plans.

“Studies have shown that the closer people are to their place of employment, it makes for better employees,” Martys said. “It’s also better for cutting down on traffic. The ultimate goal is improving housing stock and making it more affordable.”

The Morgantown Homecoming Program focuses on house renovations in Greenmont, Wiles Hill, Woodburn and First Ward. Darden said FMHA is looking at renovating two homes on Grove Street, in Wiles Hill, as its next project in Morgantown.

Matthew Held, the president of the Greenmont Neighborhood Association, said the house represents true urban renewal that encourages families to move into the neighborhood and current homeowners to further improve their houses.

“This is one of the better examples of their work,” Held said, describing FMHA’s renovations. “Not that anything’s been bad, but their attention to detail is so much greater than when they started. I’m looking forward to welcoming some new neighbors soon.”

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(c)2015 The Dominion Post (Morgantown, W.Va.)

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