By Sophie Pappas
Habitat of Boone County began a revitalization project in the South Meridian neighborhood of Lebanon last Thursday with the demo of the tornado damages house at 1412 S. Meridian. The second home across the street will be torn down next week. This comes after Habitat for Humanity International in Atlanta started a national program called Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative for all the Habitat affiliates across the country, a program that the Boone County affiliate is now implementing.
“I am really excited to improve this neighborhood on South Meridian. There are several houses that need to be torn down and we are grateful to have the city help us with the demolition so we can build new homes that the surrounding neighbors in this area can be proud of. We are also grateful to have others help with this demo project as both Boone County Resource Recovery and Boone County Solid Waste Management donated the dumpsters that were needed to all the house debris hauled away,” said Steve Furste, executive director of Habitat.
The purpose is for a local Habitat affiliate to seek partnerships with a town/community with a focus in an area or neighborhood that is need of revitalization, or abandoned houses that need to be torn down, vacant lots cleaned up to a simple face lift of some homes that just need a fresh coat of paint. Presently towns and cities all over the US have partnered with their local affiliates to transform a neighborhood from blight to an area that all the homeowners take pride in.
New homes replace old abandoned ones, and some homes will get a face lift with just a new coat of paint, cleaned-up lawns, or the planting of shrubs and flowers. Furste said the key is that the neighborhood homeowners are actively involved in all phases of the revitalization process.
The local Boone County affiliate has made a start in the S. Meridian neighborhood with their 2013 Apostles Build at 1415 S. Meridian. Furste said that plans call for more houses that have been abandoned to be replaced with Habitat homes.