May 19, 2008

City sells two homes seized from Southside Revitalization Corp

We're about a year late on this story, but it was news to us. The Southside Revitalization Corp. is no longer in existence. The nonprofit organization started about 35 years ago to improve housing conditions in the city ran out of money and disbanded about eight months ago.

The city was the organization's main creditor and essentially foreclosed on six properties owned by the nonprofit, according to Brian O'Connell, director of city development.

"There was a management lapse in the organization," O'Connell said. "The bottom line is they didn't stay on top of thing things the needed to do to run that organization."

"Costs got away from them," he added.

Joe Heck, assistant director of city planning, said the city (working with Hinsman Realty) has sold one of SRC's homes and another is set for closing this month. Habitat for Humanity is also committed to building a home at 1112 Villa St., in the same block as the new COP House built by Community Outpost.

Despite their troubles at the end, Heck noted SRC made an impact on the city. About 10 years ago, the organization focused its resources on the 1100 block of Villa Street. It built two new homes in the block and moved a third home to a vacant lot. With the new Habitat home and the COP House, the area is becoming a solid neighborhood in the inner city.

"The legacy lingers on, you bet," Heck said. "They did a lot of good work, no doubt about it."

But management issues hurt the long-standing organization.

"They ran into a rough patch 2-3 years ago," Heck said. "They made some decisions that didn't work out for them."

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