Old North Knoxville residents come together to combat blight

Old North Knoxville residents come together to combat blight

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Five residents in the Old North Knoxville community have come together to improve their neighborhood and rehabilitate old blighted homes. Five residents in the Old North Knoxville community have come together to improve their neighborhood and rehabilitate old blighted homes.
“The reason I got involved in that it was a blighted property that was a negative impact on my house and the houses around and we had to do something or the house was going to be torn down,” said Lauren Rider. “The reason I got involved in that it was a blighted property that was a negative impact on my house and the houses around and we had to do something or the house was going to be torn down,” said Lauren Rider.
The neighbors have been busy gutting, stabilizing and rebuilding the house from the ground up. The neighbors have been busy gutting, stabilizing and rebuilding the house from the ground up.
By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Abandoned blighted homes can attract crime and decrease property values. Now some residents in one Knoxville neighborhood are taking matters in their own hands to repair blighted properties.

Five residents in the Old North Knoxville community have come together to improve their neighborhood and rehabilitate old blighted homes.

Almost every day since December 2012, Lauren Rider has spent time at 223 East Anderson Street in Knoxville fixing up the historic home.

“The reason I got involved in that it was a blighted property that was a negative impact on my house and the houses around and we had to do something or the house was going to be torn down,” said Rider.

Five neighbors put their money together to buy the property before the city demolished the blighted abandoned home.

“When you end up with empty lots you end up with lots that people dump trash on and squat on. It just really drags a neighborhood down to be surrounded by empty lots,” said Rider.

The neighbors have been busy gutting, stabilizing and rebuilding the house from the ground up.

“The house was basically collapsing into the street when we purchased it,” said Rider.

They've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to rebuild the house all the while keeping the historic character.

“We've gone back with wooden windows. We've rebuilt the chimneys rather than tear them down. There are three chimneys that we've preserved,” said Rider.

Rider says the goal is to improve the community and not lose money but if they make money even better but that's not the main purpose of their efforts.

“We are not just flipping the property and putting in new fixtures and new flooring. We are going from the ground all the way to the top,” said Rider.

This is the second property in the Old North Knoxville community the residents have restored. Rider says if another home threatens the safety and value of the neighborhood she will considered taking on another project.

“Personally, I plan to be here for another 20 or 30 years in this neighborhood. I try to look at this as a long term enhancement for the community,” said Rider.

Abandoned blighted homes not only impact the direct neighborhood, but the entire community by driving down property values and attracting crime to the area.

The home is scheduled to be complete by August 1. The homeowners already have a prospective buyer.

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