Franklin development project aims to fix up homes

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By Zach Myers

FRANKLIN, Ind. (Sept. 16, 2014)-- The city of Franklin is in the process of repairing and upgrading 21 homes using nearly $470,000 in state and local development funding.

The project uses $350,000 in state grant funding, and $118,000 in TIF money from the Franklin Development Corporation and Franklin Redevelopment Commission.

After talking with more than 50 homeowners, Franklin city leaders chose the 21 homes based on homeowners income levels, and how much the repairs would impact the homeowner’s life. The goal of the project is to help each homeowner stay in their home.

For 72-year-old Sarah Buchwald, it the project means she will get to continue living in her home, which was built around 1850. Not long ago, she wasn’t sure she would be able to stay. Some badly needed repairs were long overdue.

"You know, there was less money, I was on a fixed income,” Buchwald told FOX59. "Utility bills were high, one thing and another. I just couldn't get it done.”

Now she doesn’t have to worry. Contractors are in the process of replacing her siding, getting rid of rotting trim and putting in new insulation where there once was none.

“Being able to have somebody stay in their home was the whole purpose of this,” said Rhoni Oliver with Franklin’s office of Community Development.

While Sarah’s house is being fixed up on the outside, other homes are having different work done.

"There were some roofs done, some furnaces, some toilets were raised so that people could get on and off the toilet easier,” Oliver said.

Other homes had projects completed to increase accessibility for disabled residents.

There was a limit of $25,000 worth of work at each home.

In the short term, the repairs and upgrades will help each homeowner and improve the image of their neighborhoods. In the long term, the projects will also increase each home’s value when it comes time to sell.

But, that can’t happen too soon. Part of the deal requires each homeowner to stay in their house for three years after the work is completed, in response to some concerns about house flipping.