February 17, 2013 [Joanne Berger DuMound, cleveland.com]
BEREA — A Cuyahoga County agency recommended the city receive a $200,000 grant to help residential redevelopment in the north end.
Last month Cuyahoga County Department of Development asked the city to reapply for a Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The city was unable to receive funds from the program last year.
This time, however, the city learned last week it will receive $200,000 from the program, which the Berea Community Development Corporation applied for after the invitation.
The project includes buying a vacant home at 747 Longfellow Drive that is in foreclosure or bank-owned, raze the structure and build a new house. The city then will use funds from the sale of the new house to buy another and continue the redevelopment process.
BCDC Executive Director Rebecca Corrigan said the deal needs to be finalized with a contract, which is expected to occur soon. She said PNC Bank agreed to be part of the project. The city will begin looking for a construction firm to build the new house.
The Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation, also known as the Cuyahoga Land Bank, has committed to demolishing the house at no cost to the city, Corrigan said. The city plans to seek a builder to construct the 1,300- to 1,500-square-foot structure. The project’s timeline runs from April 1 through Dec. 31.
“The county gave us a pretty aggressive timeline, but we are working now to make it happen,” she said. “This will be a good investment for Berea.”
The NSP program was established to stabilize communities that have suffered from foreclosure and abandonment. The current NSP3 designation, which applies to this Berea project, provides a third round of neighborhood stabilization grants to selected governments on a formula basis.
Only one area in Berea, in which this house is located, complies with the NSP requirements of having a high number of homes with prime mortgage foreclosures.
“South Euclid, which received a grant, has several census tracts that reflect the requirements,” Corrigan said. “It is nice we only have one census track and can focus on this neighborhood.”
Ward 1 Councilwoman Margarette S. Key said she was “ecstatic” when learning about the grant. She said she, Mayor Cyril M. Kleem and Corrigan have talked about revitalizing the north end for a long time. Due to the economy, she said that has taken longer than expected.
“This may be considered a small step for some and a big step for others, but it’s a huge step for the north end,” she said.
Key called the project a “trifold” situation.
“We clean up the neighborhood removing a vacant home, bring a new family into the city with the new one and add them to the tax docket,” she said. “We are putting money back into our own community.”