Friday, May 11, 2001

Crack house to dream house


City lights 'beacon of revitalization'

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Dorothy Rose can sleep at night. She can go outside without fearing she will be attacked by a pit bull.

        And she can have a conversation with her neighbors without worrying she will be robbed or hit on for cash.

        Mrs. Rose lives at 725 South Fred Shuttlesworth Circle, next door to a house that had spoiled the neighborhood image for four years with drug dealing and prostitution.

        The house, at 727 South Fred Shuttlesworth Circle, has been rescued and restored. A rededication ceremony will take place today, 4-5:30 p.m..

        Mrs. Rose, 75, talks of how the house fell into disrepute after the owner, the Rev. Joseph Grant, died in 1996 and his wife moved to a nursing home.

        What once was a pristine historic house built in 1894 became a crack house.

        “Cars were up and down the street all day long. I couldn't sleep at nights,” she said. “My house was broken into twice. They had pit-bull dogs over there and I was afraid to go out in my own back yard.”

        She reported the situation to city hall. Then-Cincinnati Mayor Roxanne Qualls took notice, and police raided the house. The city boarded it up in 1999.

        Ethel Cogen, senior community development analyst for the city, said the city was able to get the owner, a son of the Rev. Mr. Grant, to deed the house to the city in lieu of a foreclosure.

        The Department of Neighborhood Services gave the North Avondale Neighborhood Association (NANA) $70,000 to buy it.

        NANA was able to leverage the city funds to get $120,000 from the Cincinnati Development Fund.

        “What we see now at 727 South Fred Shuttlesworth Circle is the results of a lot of work among the city, the community and corporate cooperation,” Ms. Cogen said.

        John Angelo, project coordinator, said through corporate contributions, loans and the city grant, they invested $250,000 in the house.

        “We were able to bring it from a derelict drug house into a beacon of revitalization and a neighborhood showhouse,” Mr. Angelo said.

        Mr. Angelo said the five-bedroom house will go on the market today listed at $189,900. Proceeds of the sale will be used to repay the Cincinnati Development fund and the city.

       



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