Rebuilding a neighborhood one home at a time

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by Trent Wells | June 19th, 2009 • Have you ever driven past an old neighborhood and wondered what happened? It looks the place used to be a great community to live, but now it’s falling apart. The Star Tribune has a great story about St. Paul trying to turn around one of these neighborhoods. Dayton’s Bluff is filled with historic houses, but it has also dealt with rampant crime and drug use. In a two month span of 2006, one home in the neighborhood was the subject of 51 police calls.

Hindsight is the official blog of Minnesota 2020. Hindsight gives the run down on the news that jumps out at us on the issues that matter. Often times these stories show us how much further we need to go to have the progressive policy realized in Minnesota.

Since then, the city’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority has been trying to reclaim the neighborhood. It created the 4th Street Preservation Project, which has been buying up problem houses as owners foreclose or sell. The city purchased 11 properties, and plans on reselling the houses to owners who promise to restore them.

Depending on the condition, St. Paul is asking anywhere from $1 to $26,000. However, the city expects once the new buyers make the agreed renovations, some new homeowners will have put upwards of $170,000 into their properties.

Aside from restoring beautiful houses and cleaning up crime, St. Paul will benefit from the higher property values and the accompanying tax dollars.

This project may sound to some like government interfering in the marketplace, but saving a troubled neighborhood and restoring the city are worthy tasks that sometimes need a little push to get started.

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