Tuesday, September 9, 2014
By Ed Runyan
Trumbull 100, a philanthropic organization of business people, has committed itself to getting more extensively involved in an effort to repopulate the area just north of downtown, known as the Garden District.
On Monday, several members of the group had a news conference in front of a home at 453 Vine St. NE where Trumbull 100 member and Warren businessman Bill Casey and his wife, Jan, invested $25,000 to fix up the house to make it attractive for purchase.
The three-bedroom, two story, 1,240-square-foot home is on the market for $29,000.
It is one of dozens of Garden District houses Casey called “bubble homes” — vacant residences that still have value but will end up on the demolition list in a few years if something isn’t done.
Casey and other Trumbull 100 members believe that by investing in renovation, they will attract other investment in the neighborhood.
Casey said his goal is to sell the home, use the proceeds to renovate one or two more, and keep the process going.
Meanwhile, other members of Trumbull 100 announced that the organization is donating $10,000 to the Home Sponsorship Fund at the Trumbull Community Foundation to help build up the money available for additional renovations.
All the homes to be renovated are part of the Trumbull County Land Bank, which is managed by the nonprofit Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership.
In the case of 453 Vine, the Casey donation was used to establish the sponsorship fund.
Casey was involved in the renovation, but TNP oversaw the project, hiring a contractor and getting volunteer labor from the Trumbull County Job and Family Services Youth Program and volunteers from NorthMar Church on East Market Street.
TNP waived the normal acquisition fees to bring down the cost of the project and making it a success story, said Matt Martin, TNP executive director.
Trumbull 100 member Diane Sauer and her husband, Kurt, also announced that they were donating $5,000 that would be matched by Trumbull 100 to provide another $10,000 to the Home Sponsorship Fund.
Trumbull 100 is also willing to match other investments up to $15,000, Diane Sauer said.
The home at 453 Vine is across the street from one of the 50 wildflower and native plant gardens in the 22-block Garden District.
Several other gardens are within a block of the home.
Sauer said during the announcement that the improvement at 453 Vine had already started to improve the rest of the neighborhood, with other repairs taking place at the same time at houses nearby.
A requirement to purchase the home is that the purchaser live there at least three years, Martin said.