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Hartford Neighborhood Group Works To Reclaim House, Increase Homeownership


May 25, 2012

The decaying house at 199-201 Sargeant St. was built in 1898 and has been vacant and deteriorating for several years. That will soon change.

The nonprofit Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (NINA), is joining with another nonprofit group, ServCorps, and Bank of America to renovate the property for occupancy once again while visually maintaining the look and feel of the original.

Demolition of the 2,866-square-foot, two-family house has begun and is expected to be completed by mid-June. Construction will take approximately 12 to 15 months, finishing in mid-to-late 2013.

"The goal is for the house to be inhabited by first-time homebuyers," NINA Program Manager David Corrigan said. "We expect a sale around $250,000."

NINA acquired the house through Bank of America's participation in the National First Look Program, created in 2010 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The program allows selected nonprofit organizations to purchase foreclosed homes before being placed on the market.

Maintenance on the three-floor house had been deferred for years while the home was owned by an absentee landlord in New York City, said Corrigan, who estimated the total maintenance required would have cost around $300,000. Foreclosure proceedings were filed in July 2009.

Bank of America Senior Vice President Dean Andrews helped sell NINA the property for $36,130 in January.

The hope is for positive effects to expand beyond the house, itself. Currently, the Asylum Hill neighborhood has only 9 percent ownership with the rest composed of rentals.

"Projects like these help to stabilize the community and improve it economically," Corrigan said.

Most of the construction will be completed by volunteers from ServCorps and interns from Youth Build Hartford. The new house will replicate its 19th century appearance.

"People should walk by and not even know the house is new," Corrigan said.

NINA which launched in 2004 has sold six houses in the last year, Corrigan said. Several revitalized homes in the neighborhood, including some on Sargeant Street and Ashley Street, were initiated by NINA.

The property at 199-201 Sargeant St. was first built by Rollo Shaller in 1898

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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