Sunday, April 17, 2011

Actually, sometimes things work out.

Don Wheeler

There was an article of great interest to me in yesterday's South Bend Tribune.  Their story Walkerton bidding adieu to West York reveals the history and the future of what was intended as temporary housing for the World War Two effort.

In 1944, the federal government built temporary houses in Walkerton to house workers from the local Kingsbury ordnance plant during World War II.

But at the end of the war there was a housing shortage and the government decided to keep the poorly constructed houses to combat the shortage.

According to Phil Buckmaster, economic development specialist for Walkerton, 120 homes were built on the 13-acre plot of land. The majority of these homes were duplexes with under 900 square feet per unit.

As it happened, I was hired to do a home inspection of one of these duplexes in 2007 - and it was a real eye opener. I believe Mr. Buckmaster was either misquoted or misspoke, because I'm confident that the buildings were under 900 square feet - rather than the units.

The experience caused me to write a blog post published on the Campaign To Change America (John Edwards) blog, Daily Kos, and my former Progressives, South Bend page (later pirated).  I'm reposting it after this one.

As the Tribune explained, this neighborhood, now slated for demolition, will not just shove poor people somewhere else.  Thanks in large measure to the efforts of Anne Mannix and Neighborhood Development Associates, LLC, new affordable housing will replace what is left of the community.

Dogwood Estates will feature 40 new affordable single family homes.

The homes will be lease-purchase, and renters will have the opportunity to buy their homes after 15 years of leasing.

New infrastructure including sewers, and water lines, and roads are included in the project, too.
Walkerton partnered with Neighborhood Development Associates, a nonprofit organization in South Bend that works with communities and nonprofit groups to assist with development of affordable housing.

We don't tend to get good news like this very often.  

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