…. The first house to visit on my list was built in 1954. 750 square feet, unfinished basement, one story. Walking around to the back, I see the white siding is intact. The roof is drooping over the front porch. The back yard slopes into a ravine and the add-on room in the rear is falling off.
I have no construction experience, but I can tell there are no weight-bearing beams to support the room that was not built for decoration.
I try to find a redemptive aspect of the place.
The lot is okay. The houses around it are in decent condition, close enough to each other to know when a washing machine is knocking. Nothing about it moves me. If there are options, like choice 1, 2, or 3, I would put this as my third Landbank choice.
3 blocks away, the second house with a numbered street has a basement, second story, and over 1500 square feet. It also has caution tape around the collapsed cement porch. Looking over the tape I can see standing water in the basement.
Not being a professional, I can clearly see there is not a lot of redemption here. I do notice the large rose bushes lining the side of the house. However, summer roses are not enough to put house number two on my consideration list.
It is 9:05am and the temperature has risen to 52F. It is still cloudy, not windy, but definitely breezy. My next stop is the house on Primrose Ave. I have taken notes on the first two houses out of respect for anyone who will be with me when I am given a tour by a Landbank agent.
Landbank describes the neighborhood of all three homes as suffering from urban blight. Driving towards Primrose Ave., I only see forsythia bushes. Green and heavy, they will be blooming in less than a week.
I had forsythia growing in my childhood backyard. I loved ice skating on solid ponds, skiing, sledding, snow angels, and snow camping as a child. Yet the sight of yellow buds in February would remind me of my longing for spring.
I pass three corner churches of different denominations when I turn onto Primrose Ave. The 2-block drive to the house reveals a mix of empty lots, maintained homes, a few empty homes, 6 recently renovated homes, and 3 condemned houses, not including the house I am looking at.
I am checking the addresses and recognize the house, but do not see a driveway. After I drive past the house I turn around in the four-way stop intersection.
The address is still on the center post of the house. The right side of the roof is collapsed, the door boarded, windows broken. The front porch is intact but slightly sloped. My heart connects to the neglected structure. I do not see costs, I see beauty.
…. To be continued….