Ana and I had a chance to meet with the “Neighbors Who Care” folks last week over at the NHS offices on Grand. Among the items talked about were homes that originally had been built as single family homes that had been divided up into multi-family units. As many folks may know the city is trying to coax property owners into returning some of these homes back to single-family use.
When I asked how well this was going from the perspective of those in attendance the impression I was left with was that progress has been slow with few homes actually being returned to single family occupancy. Compliance is difficult, particularly with a reluctant owner or occupants as you’d imagine. It was interesting then that just a few days following this we had the opportunity to meet a young family who’s doing just this!
We’d heard from a friend that a young family had moved into 239 St. Lawrence and was in the process of “Unduplexing” the home that had been carved up into four units. Wow! I’ve long admired this distinctive limestone home. You can tell that when built it must have been a very grand home for the area. Not only is it included in the Bluff Street historic district but it’s on the short list identified as a “Pivotal”. Indeed, it is a very cool house. Well, Zack & Terry were brave enough to take on this project house. They moved in from another Beloit neighborhood and are familiar with old-house living.
It’ll be work ahead no doubt but the home looks to have great potential for rehab and improved property value. I think it’ll be a win for them. I already know their having moved in is a win for the neighborhood.
The early movers (pioneers) buying into distinctive neighborhoods assume the greater risk but also reap the greater reward. As more pioneers discover and move in the neighborhood gets better and values improve. It’s bumpy, it doesnt always happen for sure but there are a number of historic neighborhoods and grand homes I wish I’d invested in if I knew then…
There are some amazing homes around town that sadly have been duplexed. We could use some more Zack-n-Terrys. If you see them be sure to say hi and welcome them.
There are a number of city lots available for the possible creation of community gardens. We’d just need to find people in the general neighborhood of a site to take responsibility for it. Two are adjacent to historic districts. One at 432 Wisconsin (College Park Hist. Dist.) and one at 507 St. Lawrence (Bluff Street Hist. Dist.). I -know- there are some avid gardeners among us.
Sounds like fun -and- a great option for fresh produce -and- a great use of this space -and- a great neighborhood initiative. Interested? Let’s discuss at our next regular meeting, or comment.
All potential community garden sites:
There are three registered historic districts within the City of Beloit.
- College Park (Near East Side) Historic District
- Bluff Street Historic District
- Merrill Street Historic District
College Park (Near East Side) Historic District