SCHENECTADY — A stately Eastern Avenue home that has fallen into disrepair will be revitalized by Habitat for Humanity Schenectady County this summer, the organization and Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy announced on Thursday.
The city has owned the decaying property at 1012 Eastern Ave. since it had been foreclosed on in 2019, with Habitat for Humanity now set to launch a major renovation of the property.
Landlord Vonda McGill, who owns a property next door to the blighted building, said she was excited for Habitat for Humanity to breathe new life into the Eastern Avenue home.
“It’s not only important to have it built up and to have ownership for somebody so they can have a beautiful feeling of morale, but it also helps my property,” McGill said on Thursday. “Because right now I have an eyesore with a house here that is totally dilapidated. But once this is fixed up it will bring equity to my house.”
The city is partnering with Habitat for Humanity and the Capital Region Land Bank to transform the vacant property, which features a crumbling porch and awning, into a modernized home for a potential owner.
“When a property is in an abandoned, deteriorated state, it has a significant negative influence on not only the adjacent property but the whole neighborhood,” McCarthy said on Thursday. “So when you restore it, it brings vibrancy back and it brings value and positive activity back here. You can see some of the others that have been restored as you come up Eastern. The Elmer Avenue (Elementary) School rehab is going on across the street and it continues the renaissance that is going on within the city of Schenectady.”
Kathy Fernandez, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Schenectady County, said the organization has yet to select a prospective homeowner for the property.
“Our homeowners need to qualify through HUD (United States Department of Housing and Urban Development) guidelines,” she said on Thursday. “So they go through an application process and if they meet the HUD guidelines, there’s a course that they go through and they go through credit counseling and then they’re able to apply for a mortgage.”
Fernandez said that because the 1012 Eastern Ave. home will require extensive rehab, the majority of the construction work will be contracted out instead of utilizing the group’s volunteers.
Schenectady City Council President Marion Porterfield said the home renovation should be beneficial to the surrounding Eastern Avenue community.
“The benefit is that it brings up the neighborhood and it increases the equity and value of the homes around it,” she said on Thursday. “It also increases the livability of the community. Everybody feels that their homes are of more value and that the city is investing in taking care of all parts of the city. It’s a house worth restoring because there’s a lot of value left in this house. It has really nice architecture and it makes sense to bring it back as opposed to losing it to demolition.”
David Hogenkamp, Executive Director of the Capital Region Land Bank, said the project will be funded by state money awarded to the land bank from the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal.
“A lot of homes in this corridor have fallen into disrepair, but in 2015 we really started focusing here on the Eastern Avenue corridor,” he said on Thursday. “We’re taking the ones that are in the worst condition and working to do full renovations.”
According to Fernandez, the renovation work is expected to commence this summer.
“We just had an asbestos and lead paint assessment done and then next we’ll do whatever abatement has to happen and then we’ll start working on the actual construction,” she explained.
Contact Ted Remsnyder at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @TedRemsnyder.