Homes on N. Caroline St. Getting Refurbished
By Keith Daniels
Ellen Jacobs has lived on North Caroline Street near Ashland Avenue for more than five years. The view from her upstairs window at her senior living apartment building has been the same.
Vacant homes line the street, including one where police say a man raped a 13-year-old girl. "That placed stayed open for the longest time. They only nailed it up when the child got raped," said Jacobs.
Now, the one-time house of horror has been remade. A new porch light hangs from the brick row home just above an attractive mailbox. Out of the entire block of empty spaces, 8 out of 12 properties have been refurbished.
Developer Keith French is spending $80,000 to $100,000 to rehab four of the houses, including the one with a criminal past. For him, it's an opportunity to help change a community. "Really, the target market here is you're going to pay mortgage market less than you would be renting a house. And you have a quality house. You have a safe house, lead free," said French.
The work on the block is part of a larger city plan. It's Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake's program called "Vacants to Value." It is an initiative to address the city's more than 16,000 vacant homes.
Paul Graziano, the city's housing commissioner, says the program is in more than 70 neighborhoods.