New public-private program saves 1903 Hyde Park house

This home in Hyde Park is the first renovated through the city’s new receivership program

By Joe Lambe

The smell of urethane lingered like perfume Friday at a long vacant 110-year-old Hyde Park house, now rescued from ruin and up for sale.

Cheerleaders were there, too, for this first house renovated through the city’s new receivership program.

Among them were the city manager and two city council members who read a proclamation of honor from the mayor.

They praised Eddie Tapper, a member of Providence Partnership LLC, which renovated the home and is working on three other long vacant receivership homes.

City Manager Troy Schulte said the city has up to 7,000 vacant properties, and “we can’t demolish our way through this problem.”

Enter the receivership program, made possible by a change in state law.

Since September of last year, the city has identified more than 200 vacant and blighted properties – mostly in Midtown – that are eligible for the program designed to rescue them before they have to be demolished.

Councilwoman Jan Marcason. City Manager Troy Schulte, Councilman Jermaine Reed, and developer Eddie Tapper at the open house on Friday.

The program allows the city to send a 60-day warning letter to owners to fix problems or the city will file in circuit court to take the property. Then a judge can assign it to private receivers like Providence, which do renovation.

Since March, the city has filed court action on 20 properties out of 30 sent to it by codes staff, said Amelia McIntyre, assistant city attorney.

In many cases only city notice is needed, she said, because the owner then moves to sell the property, repair it or in rare cases demolish it.

“People are given several bites at the apple to get their acts together,” she said. “Every property has a story.”

Tapper, who is also president of the Center City neighborhood association, said, “A lot of times someone has a house they just don’t know what to do with.”

In the Hyde Park home at 4009 Kenwood Ave., the owner had tried to make repairs for years but it was too much for him, Tapper said, and he agreed to sell it to Providence.

Tapper led tours Friday, noting how they took over a home stripped to the studs with it’s porch caved in and completely redid it – new kitchen, mechanical, historic wood trim, three bedrooms, big closets, 2½ baths.

It cost “a bunch” he said, but is worth it. The home is for sale for $170,000.

Any buyer can live close to Councilwoman Jan Marcason, who said she has just moved to a house a block away.

Councilman Jermaine Reed said “we’ve got a lot of work to do to repopulate the inner core,” and the receivership program will help.

Matt Keeney, the city codes inspector assigned to the program, said citizens can call 311 and report houses they think may be eligible for the program.

Better sooner than later, he said, to beat things like copper thieves and damage from leaking roofs.

“If we go too long without addressing it,” he said, “I see too often they are past the point where they can be rehabbed.”

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