August 22, 2014

Elyria
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Refurbished Elyria home has charm, perhaps short on location

ELYRIA —  The city’s renovation of a home on 12th Street is nearly complete, and it will soon go for sale for $112,000.In a tough housing market, city officials are keeping their fingers crossed that the four- or five-bedroom, one-bath home will sell.

The city is offering up to $20,000 in assistance for low- and moderate-income buyers that could be used for the down payment, closing costs or additional renovations such as finishing a second bathroom in the basement, said Elyria Community Development Director Carol Nawrocki.

CHUCK HUMEL / CHRONICLE
The exterior of the newly refurbished Community Development home at 353 12th St., Elyria. The city fixed it up and hopes to sell it, but critics are worried the city will lose money given the condition of the neighborhood and the tough housing market.

A buyer would have to commit to living in the house for five years or face penalties, she said.

Despite a tough housing market, Nawrocki said she is hopeful.

“We’ve done something very positive in the neighborhood,” she said.

Neighbors love what the city has done but wonder whether the house at 353 12th St. will sell.

“It looks nice — it’s a lot better than it was,” said Don McDougal, who has lived in the area with his mother, Wilda, since 1963.

Even though the home is dramatically improved, he doesn’t know if it will sell because of lower home values nearby.

Another neighbor, Tracy Wilkerson, said “I really like it,” but she doubts it will sell for $112,000.

“You can get a house on this street for 30 grand,” she said. “It’s way too much for this neighborhood.”

Wilkerson, a renter, said what would really help is to “get rid of all the drug dealers.”

“I would never buy in this neighborhood,” she said.

Two members of City Council —Garry Gibbs, R-3rd Ward, and Victor F. Stewart, D-at large, opposed renovating the home last July.

In addition to the $28,000 purchase price, the city had loaned a prior owner $13,000 for repairs through the Community Development Block Grant program, so it had $41,000 invested before renovations.

Gibbs and Stewart also voted at the Aug. 6 meeting against the $20,000 incentive package that will be offered by the city.

“It’s a losing proposition,” Gibbs said.

Stewart agreed.

“It’s going to be tough to get the money out of it,” he said.  “I understand and appreciate what they’re trying to do, but I don’t think we should be throwing good money after bad.”

Last year, the South Elyria Neighborhood Development corporation (SEND) rehabbed a home several blocks away on West Avenue, and “it’s still sitting there,” Stewart said.

Chris Baker, SEND’s executive director, said that because it is a tough housing market, the development group may choose to sell its home at 818 West Ave. listed for $119,900 in a lease-purchase agreement. Baker said the city committed up to $10,000 in assistance for closing costs, down payment or other work on the house.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.