Taking Back Washington Neighborhood: Home Revitalization - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Taking Back Washington Neighborhood: Home Revitalization

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By Lauren Squires

DUBUQUE (KWWL) - Rundown and unsafe - a historic downtown neighborhood in Dubuque is changing; renovating old and rundown homes. It's taking back Washington Neighborhood.

Eighteen new homes sit in Washington Neighborhood in Dubuque. It's a project that started in 2004. The Dubuque City Council marked the 55-square block, Washington Neighborhood revitalization as a top priority four years ago. Steps to "revitalize" Washington Neighborhood have taken it one step closer to the top.

First remodeling Prescott Elementary School, building an intercultural center and reactivating the Washington Neighborhood Association.

Once a neighborhood association was established and a vision statement and goals laid out the revitalization began. It's a simple concept, developed into a huge project. That's giving washington neighborhood houses an extreme home makeover.

"They tried to find us a decent house. This house was moved from the back. It was all refurnished. It's basically a brand new hours. I really can't complain," said Laurie Bartalotta.

Bartalotta lived just up the street from this house, in Washington Neighborhood. She had to relocate but the city helped her find a brand new, affordable house.

"We were blessed by God, we were blessed by the city. The whole experience we were truly blessed," said Bartalotta.

It's a blessing made possible by a partnership with Dubuque Bank and Trust and the City of Dubuque.

"We identify those properties, we purchase those properties and we work in conjunction with the he city to rehabilitate those properties," said Leo Hickie of Dubuque Bank and Trust Community Development.

Properties that are old, rundown and most likely rented. The idea is to take the 70-30 ratio of renters to homeowners and swap it. Build and remodel, new and affordable homes for the community; bringing a new look and feel to the neighborhood.

"Once a person owns a home, then they become a home owner and that's their home. THey don't have to ask permission to do anything to the yard, to hang anything in their apartment So right away that pride of owner ship takes over," Jolene Patterson, rehabilitation supervisor.

And its taking over this neighborhood. Already 23 new homeowners have received assistance, 40 receiving assistance for their existing homes.

"We're trying to make it better. The city is trying to make it better," said Bartalotta.

Making it better, by making it over, one house at a time. Another part of this extreme home makeover. If you drive down the streets in Washington Neighborhood you'll notice newly remodeled front porches.

Just one of the many ways to bring the community together. Tonight at ten you'll hear from the people of Washington Neighborhood: a woman who purchased the house she grew up in. And a family from chicago that moved to Dubuque because of the Washington Neighborhood.

You can view pictures of a newly renovated home, the complete document plan for Washington Neighborhood and a tour of the neighborhood park on Lauren's blog.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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