HOTH asks commission for support
Homes on the Hill is out trying to drum up support for a program where the city of Columbus can acquire vacant houses on the Hilltop and Westland areas and allow HOTH to fix them up and sell them.
Officials of the agency stopped by the Greater Hilltop Area Commission on July 7 seeking support, which it received.
Under the second phase of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, the city of Columbus will be applying for $60 million in federal funds on a competitive basis to purchase houses, HOTH executive director Steve Torsell told the commission.
The city received funds in the first phase of the NSP and acquired homes on the Eastside for rehabilitation and sale.
For this phase, Torsell has targeted 12 houses on Wheatland Avenue, both north and south of West Broad Street, and other houses farther west, including houses near Franklin Heights High School, Westland High School and north of West Broad Street near Doctors Hospital.
“It’s something that we can do to make houses attractive to the Hilltop,” Torsell said.
Melonie Buller, financial manager for HOTH, explained that rehabilitation of the houses could include new siding and carpeting, accessibility improvements and items to make the houses energy efficient.
“When the people move in, they should not have to make improvements for some time,” she said.
Outgoing GHAC member Stanley Thornburgh called the program “a great endeavor,” but expressed concerns about the location of the houses.
Homes on the Hill doesn’t acquire houses in groups, Torsell said.
“These have to be houses that have been foreclosed, so they won’t be together,” he said.
Member Joe Decker was concerned about selling the houses.
“There is a house on Wheatland you couldn’t give away,” he said. “Will we now have more houses that you can’t give away?”
Torsell assured him that getting new activity in the area can turn things around. He also said that the limits on income have been raised to attract a more affluent resident.
“I see 12 abandoned, dilapidated houses,” said Commission Chair Chuck Patterson said in lending his support to the proposal. “I hope to see 12 habitable houses.”
Twelve other members of the commission backed him in support of the program.
Also at the meeting, Lisa Grazier, Greg Watson and Greg Large took their seats as new members, having been elected by the community last month, replacing Justin Boggs, Stanley Thornburgh and Tasha Corson. Karen Whitman was re-elected to a three-year term.
Boggs was then appointed to a one-year term for an open seat and will be eligible to seek election to that seat. Hilltop property owner Nancy Rhynard was appointed to a three-year term. Their appointments bring the commission up to full strength.
National Night Out
Several groups announced they will be participating in National Night Out on Aug. 4, including the Ogden Street Block Watch and Hillcrest Baptist Church and the Wedgewood Apartments on the Westside.
Ralph Horn, chairman of the Southwest Area Commission, said his commission would be participating in the National Night Out festivities at Finland Middle School.
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