This Old House

The 1100 block of Prendergast Avenue in Jamestown just improved thanks to local collaboration.

On Thursday, officials from the county, city, Land Bank and Chautauqua Home Rehabilitation and Improvement Corporation, also known as CHRIC, gathered at 1115 Prendergast Ave., to celebrate the rehabilitation of a house that has been empty for years. Josh Freifeld, CHRIC executive director, said as of Wednesday, a buyer signed a contract to purchase the renovated house. During the past two months, the roof, floors and porch were renovated, with electrical and plumbing improvements made as well. Freifeld said the rehabilitation cost was around $60,000.

”This house has been empty for three years,” he said.

Freifeld said through CHRIC’s Acquisition-Rehab-Resale Program, the house was purchased through the county Land Bank. Once purchased, CHRIC officials rehabilitated the house using Denis S Construction of Erie, Pa. After the home is renovated, a home buyer is found. Freifeld said CHRIC officials work with the home buyer on credit and budget counseling to make sure the house will stay a single-family residence.

Mark Geise, county Land Bank executive director, said it is the first successful rehabilitation of a home in Jamestown for the Land Bank.

”This is a good example of the county, city and a housing agency working together to improve a neighborhood,” he said. ”This was a great collaboration between CHRIC and the Land Bank.”

Geise said with the assistance of CHRIC, a homeowner can afford to buy a house like the one on Prendergast Avenue. He said without CHRIC paying for the renovation costs, most potential home buyers wouldn’t be able to afford both the cost of purchasing the home and the rehabilitation work. He said the Land Bank has 12 more houses in the process of being renovated for sale just like the one on Prendergast Avenue.

Gina Paradis, county Land Bank administrative director, said the house was the first time CHRIC and the Land Bank partnered on a renovation project. She said the house was acquired as part of the Land Bank’s Negotiated Sales Program.

”We try to work with housing agencies to find homes fit for our mission,” she said. ”Then we make sure they go to first-time homebuyers.”

Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor, said the house is the ”poster child” for how to take an abandoned house and rehabilitate it for sale.

”This is exactly what was envisioned on how the Land Bank is supposed to work,” he said. ”Now it will be an owner-occupied home with a family thrilled to own it, and they now become an asset to the community.”

Peter Lombardi, Land Bank board chairman, said each time a home is renovated like the one on Prendergast Avenue, it shows how partnerships between CHRIC and the Land Bank can improve city neighborhoods.

”It helps to turn the tide,” he said.

Geise said the Land Bank knew the house was useable for a rehabilitation project thanks to the efficient work of Jamestown’s code enforcement officers, who are led by Vince DeJoy, city development director. Geise said the house was listed by DeJoy’s staff as a house that had a solid foundation and great features so they knew it was worth the investment.