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Weinland Park renovations attract outside the neighborhood

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Although improvements have been made to Weinland Park, an area on the edge of University District and the Short North, they have not been enough to keep veteran residents in the area, according to the University Area Commission.

The revitalization of Weinland Park began last spring on 14 homes, said Erin Prosser, from Campus Partners, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the quality of life in University District Neighborhoods. The Weinland Park renovations are part of the Weinland Park Collaborative, which was official launched in August 2010. Campus Partners is one of the partners in the collaborative.

Once the recent renovations were finished, people were able to enter a lottery to purchase the homes. Of the 165 applicants drawn in the most recent lottery, most were from outside of Weinland Park, said Joyce Hughes, UAC zoning committee chair.

“Many of these homes are going to sell to people outside the neighborhood, which is a shame. It’s a real shame,” said Tom Wildman, UAC code enforcement and safety committee chair.

Hughes, a resident of Weinland Park, said she has been working for the past nine years to inform her community about the revitalization and opportunities available for residents such as GED programs, job training and money management.

“I ran into a lady today who needed a home, and she knew nothing about this and it’s been in the newsletter for a year,” Hughes said. “So we’re doing everything we possibly can to rally our neighbors so that they can have the opportunity to choose to stay in Weinland Park … If they don’t take advantage, there’s nothing I can do about that.”

Prosser said a major issue with the residents of Weinland Park is credit. In one recent lottery, there were 37 of 49 applicants who did not qualify for home loans through the bank.

“They would be perfect candidates for joining the program we have to work on their credit issues and get them up to speed and when the next round comes through, they’re ready,” Prosser said. “We need to let them know they have the tools and they also need to take advantage of those tools.”

The 14 homes recently completed need to be sold in order to begin new renovations on the more than 200 homes involved in the whole project, which means there is still time to keep residents in the Weinland Park area, Hughes said.

Construction on six houses on North 4th Street and East 8th Street will begin in March, Prosser said.

The Historical Society is in discussion of plans to renovate and restore 22 of 25 buildings on 11th Avenue and will finalize the plan over the next four or five months, Hughes and Prosser said.

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