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Published: Tuesday, 4/5/2005

New homes destined for 11 central-city lots

JR's Carryout used to sit at Belmont Avenue and Ewing Street in Toledo's central city, anchoring a row of neglected houses and overgrown yards.

"These lots had been viewed as a threat to safety and therefore a deterrent to people walking in the neighborhood as well as to Stewart Academy," said Deborah Younger, executive director of Organized Neighbors Yielding eXcellence Inc. (ONYX), one of the city's nonprofit community development agencies.

Now cleared, the block near Stewart Academy for Girls is set to be developed into five new home lots by ONYX. Six sites nearby will also be developed.

Mayor Jack Ford said yesterday he has selected ONYX's "One Block at a Time" project, along with a similar project in North Toledo, as the first to be awarded money under an $11.1 million public-private initiative known as NOFA, for "notice of funding availability, which was announced in October.

The city's contribution is expected to be between $1.2 million and $1.8 million. Most of the money would be in the form of a grant from the city's annual HOME block grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The goal, the mayor said, is to transform the neighborhoods involved.

ONYX plans to have 11 homes built by Stanberry Homes on Belmont, Sheridan, and Ewing streets, all in the vicinity of Stewart Academy, which is scheduled for replacement by the Toledo Board of Education.

The proposal also includes lead abatement and rehabilitation for some existing houses, demolition for others, and street improvements.

NorthRiver Development Corp., another community development agency, wants to develop 32 homes on a 10-acre lot the agency bought in 1997 in North Toledo.

A zoning request for the proposed Edison Place project - which would be bounded by Edison, Bassett, New York, and Ontario streets - will come before the city plan commission later this month.

The development would be next to the site where the Toledo Public Schools district intends to build a replacement building for Chase Elementary School.

North River has requested $1.28 million from the city's HOME grant fund, which pays part of the cost of constructing a house, with the balance covered by bank loans.

The program reduces the cost to the buyer, who must meet low-income limits established by HUD.

Six additional proposals for the $11.1 million initiative fund are under consideration, Mr. Ford said.



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