Monday, October 26, 2009
Can These Houses Be Saved?
Guest post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman
Three properties in Hawthorne are at various stages of demolition or acquisition by the city of Minneapolis: 2719 Colfax Avenue North, 2714 4th St North, and 2416 4th St North.
I went to look at these houses and here is what I found...
2719 Colfax Ave N did not come up in public searches as a valid address, but it appears to be a duplex attached to 2717 Colfax Ave N. It looks like a lot of structures in Hawthorne: A house that was once a large, single-family residence that has now been spliced into a rather unappealing duplex. From looking into the windows of this place, it has the typical gray carpeting that seems so popular among slummy properties. But it also seemed to have a fair amount of redeeming factors. The back door had a hole in it, and this is what I saw from there:
CPED is considering purchasing this property, and residents with an opinion one way or another are encouraged to contact CM Hofstede at email@example.com. No deadline was listed for comments on the message to me. It's hard to tell from a cursory view of this place, but I would hope it could be saved. It needs work, to be sure, but I don't think a demolition in this case serves the neighborhood.
Next up was 2714 4th St N. This is a tax-forfeited property and it appears to be occupied. Because of that, I took only a photo of the exterior from the front. It's the second picture shown "above the fold" on this post. This house needs some love, but is easily the nicest of the three. If the city or a development partner acquires this one, it definitely needs to be saved and not demolished. Neighborhood comments to CPED (firstname.lastname@example.org) are due by noon on November 4.
Finally, we have 2416 4th St N. This property will go before the Nuisance Condition Process Review Panel on November 12th. Comments are due to email@example.com one week (November 5) before the hearing.
Like our first property, this one looks like it had (and still has) a lot of character, and was victimized by a terrible siding job and plenty of landlord neglect. While no question has been brought to the neighborhood about CPED acquisition, there is at the time of this writing a for sale sign out front. Here are a few more pictures of what I saw:
Again, this house appears to be neglected but salvageable. The question is, who wants to save it? And have we set up our NSP funding in such a way to allow any or all of these structures to be acquired AND SAVED by the city or development partners? Admittedly I have not been inside any of them and the interior may make the demolition question an open-and-shut case for tear-down. I've said this before though, and I'll say it again: These houses in other parts of the city would not have been allowed to deteriorate to their present conditions. And if they had, in many other parts of the city I believe their chances of survival would be much higher.
I look at these houses and I see the potential for rehabilitation and preservation. If I am wrong, people can comment on this thread or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope our elected officials and public servants look at these houses and see the same things I do.