A quick update on the Facade Grant and Renovation Grant/Loans: there's a stipulation to the programs that the building cannot have any code violations, meaning it must be habitable and up to code in order to qualify for the grants. Unfortunately, Eddie's house doesn't have windows or plumbing/heating, therefore it is not up to code and not habitable.
Eddie's trying to make the argument that the combination of his own money, his own efforts and the city grants would allow him to fix the building and make it habitable. It's an uphill battle, though, and although the city officials seemed to be helpful at first, they have not returned his subsequent phone calls or emails. Sigh.
Anyway, it's a shame because the house is on a crucial corner and its occupancy could change the whole outlook of the neighborhood it's in. We attended the Newburgh Heights Association meeting last week, even though we don't live in the Heights, and they echoed the same sentiment that Eddie voiced to the City of Newburgh in an appeal letter - that every house makes a difference. Each abandoned or boarded-up property devalues the surrounding area and only perpetuates the cycle of crime, lowered neighborhood pride, and lower rates of owner-occupied housing.
It would be great to start up a Montgomery-Grand-Liberty Association, where there are lots of beautiful historic homes that need to be remembered and advocated for. And there are a lot of people already in the neighborhood who take care of their own properties, who I imagine wouldn't be opposed to expending energy on making sure other properties are taken care of.
Since we haven't done anything with the house in a while, we were shamed into taking some action...so, maybe this weekend we'll do some landscaping in the front yard.