HOPE nearing completion on home

NILES — When interior work is completed this spring on a two-story home on Cedar Street, The Avenue and Main Inc. will have finished the first of four planned home renovations and upgrades in the city as part of Project HOPE (Home Ownership Provides Everyone HOPE).

Jeff Crowley, a member of The Avenue and Main, said a goal of the group is to renovate a house in each of the city’s four wards. The house at 205 Cedar St. is in the third ward.

Project HOPE has received funding to transform blighted homes into the city for families to live in. The organization received $58,500 to renovate the Cedar Street property.

Work began on the home last spring with all exterior work and a detached garage completed. Interior renovations still need done.

Crowley said while some of the work was done by members of The Avenue and Main board, including himself, Jason Altobelli, Rich Hale and others, parts of the project were contracted out to skilled laborers. Trumbull Career and Technical Center building trades students also have helped.

Work on the exterior included tree removal, concrete work, roofing and window and siding installation.

“There was a day we spent several hours here and filled an entire dumpster,” Crowley said.

Avenue and Main secured the property from the Trumbull Land Bank in 2016 with the Home Federal Savings and Loan in Niles agreeing to finance the home.

­Crowley said once the home is completed, applications will be accepted by The Avenue and Main for a family to live there.

“The home will be sold to a deserving family at 80 percent of market value,” he said noting a home on the street sold for $87,500.

The Avenue and Main, with the assistance of volunteers at Youngstown State University, in 2016 did a survey of available properties in the city and then got in contact with Trumbull Land Bank, which does the tax foreclosures on properties.

Properties the land bank deems are in good shape are put up for sale while those in bad shape are scheduled for demolition. Crowley said he is aware of 13 properties being scheduled or having been demolished.

“The home on Cedar Street was structurally sound and just needed some work,” Crowley said.

Inside work included removal of a wall to create a large dining room, kitchen and living room on the first floor and a laundry room. Three bedrooms and bathroom are upstairs. Other planned work this year will be painting and insulation.

Crowley said a work day may be planned this spring for volunteers to help with painting and landscaping.

To date, $30,000 worth of work has been put into the home with around $50,000 expected when completed, Crowley said.

He said $25,000 was raised by fundraising and local donations from organizations and businesses and matched by the Cafaro Foundation, which provided $25,000.

Rich Hale of Avenue and Main said, “We are working together as a team on these homes and getting together all the necessary resources in the most effective way possible.”

Hale said the group is working with land bank at what other properties could be utilized for Project HOPE.

“It depends when and where the properties are available,” he said.

Jason Altobelli of The Avenue and Main agreed it has been a group effort to make a home possible for a family. He helped put together the financing for the Cedar Street home.

“Team work is what is making this work,” he said.

“It is hoped that this first renovation project will encourage other generous donations to provide funding for future Project HOPE endeavors.”