A house in the 1200 block of Beacon Street in Springfield was every neighbor’s nightmare — full of rodents, trash and homeless visitors.
A lot of people would’ve started to clear a path for the bulldozer, but that’s not how this house’s story ends.
The Clark County Land Bank bought the house for nothing in 2015 from its previous owner.
The Land Bank buys up the properties around the county that no one wants and works to return the property to a more productive use for the neighborhood.
In 2016, the Land Bank gave the property to Opportunities for Individual Change (OIC) of Clark County — and the young adults in OIC’s Youth Build program got to work.
Everything in the home is brand new — the wiring, the plumbing, drywall, ceilings and flooring.
“We did a stud to stud renovation on this,” said Executive Director of OIC Mike Calabrese. “About 27 kids filtered through here to gain various construction skills and that’s kind of priceless.”
The Youth Build Program teaches hands-on skills to people ages 18-24 in the county through real-life rehab projects on houses or other buildings .
OIC is able to do these projects through a U.S. Department of Labor grant that the organization received five years ago. OIC has previously partnered with the City of Springfield on several rehab projects, including fixing up a house on North Western Avenue last September.
Clark County Commissioner Melanie Flax Wilt, who toured the Beacon Street home during an open house Thursday along with several other city and county leaders, called partnerships like these a win-win for everyone.
“It’s given us the opportunity to put some properties, both residential and commercial, back on the market and that helps to stimulate our economy,” she said. “It’s rewarding to see what kids and young adults in our community are able to do to learn work skills that can transfer to projects and other things in our community down the road.”
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Calabrese said the project took about three years because the young adults enrolled in the program were using it as a training house, while many of them simultaneously worked on several properties west of Springfield Regional Medical Center.
“Our intent was have a great training site for the kids and take a property that, if it were fixed up, it would stabilize the neighborhood — and it did,” he said.
Calabrese said the house’s rehab showed other neighbors that someone else was investing in the worst house on the street and it spurred other people on Beacon to spruce up their homes as well.
But the home won’t be sitting empty for long — Calabrese said the house already has a buyer. OIC is just waiting to set a closing date. The house is currently listed for $115,000.
All of the profit from the sale goes directly back to OIC.
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