House rehab project 1st of many

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Green housing
Photo by James Mitchell
Southgate Mayor Joseph Kuspa (left) takes a tour of the first Green Anchors home, guided by Meadowlark Builders CEO Doug Selby (center) and shared with Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano. The project’s focus on redeveloping homes that are both affordable and energy efficient kicked off last week courtesy of the city, county and Michigan Suburbs Alliance.

By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers

SOUTHGATE — By the time the holidays roll around, Mayor Joseph Kuspa said there will be at least one family with a new place to call “home.”

At last week’s launch of the multi-partner Green Anchors Program, Kuspa said the grant-funded project of redeveloping houses formerly owned by banks marked the beginning of a turnaround for many families and neighborhoods to come.

“Today serves as a pilot program for retro-fitting homes through grants,” Kuspa said at a press conference Wednesday before a walk-through of the Rosedale Street house.

The program began when the city applied for and won a Wayne County Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant, for which partnerships included the Michigan Suburbs Alliance and contractor Meadowlark Builders. Phase one includes the redevelopment of a vacant house, to include energy upgrades for further cost efficiencies.

Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano said the program highlights the positive steps forward that can be taken in struggling neighborhoods through cooperative projects.

“I know Southgate and its partners will have success with this,” Ficano said.

Jennifer Young, Energy Programs Manager for Michigan Suburbs Alliance, said the program’s reach can extend beyond the prospective homeowners through raised awareness of bringing residents back to vacant houses and showcasing the cost savings of energy efficiency.

“The overall goal is to create a model that can be repeated in other communities,” Young said.

Last week’s project start on Rosedale was to be followed by two other projects in the city, and crews began work on houses that are expected to welcome new residents by year’s end.

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)

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