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During Phase I, the city purchased five older homes — four foreclosures and a short sale — that were typical of the city’s 1950s, 1960s and 1970s housing stock. The smallest was an 800-square-foot rambler. The largest was a 2,000-square-foot split level. With the help of a contractor, the city redesigned the homes inside and out and opened them up as models. The idea was to create some momentum for remodeling in the city.
Officials believe the project did inspire nearly 100 remodels, according to building permits. There were 33 building permits taken out in a half-mile radius of one of the remodeled homes at 537 109th Av. There were 32 permits pulled in the half-mile radius surrounding the model at 11610 Juniper St.
Becky Johnson and her husband were inspired to remodel their 1956 rambler after walking through the Juniper model two doors down from their home.
“It gave us the courage to move forward,” Johnson said. “It was the same floor plan as ours. You could see what you could do with it.”
The Johnsons bought their three-bedroom, one-bath rambler 12 years ago. Three daughters later, the house felt a bit tight.
“We wanted another bedroom, and we needed another bathroom downstairs. God help my husband,” Johnson quipped.
After seeing the city’s showcase home, the Johnsons remodeled the basement, adding a second bathroom and fourth bedroom complete with egress window and large closet. There’s also a family room.
Johnson said she’s now content to stay put. She embraces the comfort and safety of her established neighborhood.
“It’s settled. There are people who have been here forever,” Johnson said. “There is a certain comfort level.”
With three children in day care, it’s an affordable home for them. Plus the girls, ages 2, 5 and 7, love the big fenced-in back yard and the large driveway where they ride bicycles and doodle with sidewalk chalk.
“These are parts of the home we can’t live without,” Johnson said.
For more information, contact Kristin DeGrande at 763-767-6517 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shannon Prather • 612-673-4804