Sunday, October 25, 2009

EcoVillage Planting

Guest post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman

I woke up on a Saturday morning just in time to see the the steam rising off of the mulch pile into the beaming sunrise. That alone filled me with enough energy to start the day off--who am I kidding? I needed coffee, and lots of it, to get going.

Once that was taken care of, I was ready to work...

Other folks from Hawthorne, Energyscapes, and PPL, were way ahead of me though. It was a good thing we had the roto-tiller. The area where we were planting had its fair share of housing remnants - chunks of wood and asphalt abounded. It made me wonder what the ground was like in the hundreds of other vacant lots where houses had been demolished.

And even though dealing with the devil seems like soooo last year, I thought of how many chunks of 3024 6th St N we were digging up, as well as the pending demolition of 3020. On the one hand, I was reminded of the victory of shutting down a known drug dealer who was poisonous to the community (although he's still around, at 3007 3rd St N). On the other hand, the two houses that belonged to him were both viable structures at one point and should have been saved. With the arson at 3020, this feeling of victory was quite literally pyrrhic.

At one point, the tree roots and asphalt fought back and a shovel became an unfortunate casualty of the day:

Once enough digging was done, planting was underway. We put in Jacob's ladder, spiderwort (which sounds like it would be used for some kind of potion), New Jersey Tea (not to be mistaken for Texas tea), and many other types of native plants.

Then it was time to break for lunch. We went to 2419 4th St N, which is on the market for $79,900. With the myriad types of assistance available, this is a terrific buy. Let's bump that price up to an even $83,000 and assume that the seller will cover closing costs as a result. Hawthorne has assistance totaling $2,490. My understanding is that this property has been vacant long enough to qualify for the Minneapolis Advantage program according to these guidelines. That's another $8,300 in assistance. Then there's another $8,000 thanks to the Pohlad Family Foundation. Assuming a 5% downpayment, that gives you a loan amount of $60,060. Conservatively assuming a 6% interest rate, this gets you an estimated PITI payment of $530. Stay in the house ten years, and all that assistance is FORGIVEN. How can you pass this up?!

Here are a few pics of that house:

Granted, this isn't a rainbow ceiling fan, but still...

(Two disclaimers: The tax credit may or may not be renewed, and you must close before the end of November to qualify for that. Furthermore, it is not an assistance amount that comes into play at the point of purchase. Second, check with your loan originator and Realtor to confirm that you and the property qualify for each assistance program.)

After lunch, it was time to get back to more planting and landscaping. As much as I enjoy biking or going to the gym, this is a far better workout. At the gym, I move weights around, and when I'm done those weights just go back to the same spot. Today, though, I'm sore because I spent five hours making my neighborhood a better place. That's far more rewarding.

After finishing up here, I stopped by the Polish Lady's house and was treated to a congratulatory beer, a few shots of "Polish Pop" (vodka), and some homemade polish sausage. I'd show pictures, but really there is no way to pose with Polish sausage in a family-friendly way.

The Polish pop came in handy as I took a break to learn a few more hooping tricks before an evening of NoMi revelry...(to be continued in the next Hawkman post)


Anonymous said...

I think this is great, but I wanted to post my concerns. We really need some official calendar in this neighborhood. I didn't even hear about this event, until it was over. I would have loved to show up and contribute.

This has been a long gripe of mine. Why can't the neighborhood set up something simple like a google calendar, where everyone interested could go and find out what is going on.

I really was disappointed in not being able to go on Saturday.

Anonymous said...

If you look closely at the realtor who is selling the property in this post. Brian Hallblade. He is the slumlord who owns 2230 6th St N. Just an FYI.

Anonymous said...

Just one minor point: the 1903-era spruced up gem is at 2419 North Fourth street, not third street. This little part of Hawthorne has seen a lot of improvement over the last two years and another homeowner on the block would go a long way toward cementing those improvements in place.


The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

Thanks for catching that, KCz. It's been amended.