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West Valley City Journal

City welcomes its fourth renovated ‘Idea House’

Jun 23, 2017 11:16AM ● By Travis Barton

Home at 3007 W. 2960 South after it underwent the Idea House program. (Jeff Hayden and Carol LaFreniere)

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

It was raining outside when Justin Arbuckle walked into the house, only he continued to feel water falling on his head inside too. 

“There was a section of the roof that was just a blue tarp,” and the rain was dropping into the house, said Arbuckle, who is with the Granger Hunter Improvement District (GHID). 

The tarp was replaced, along with the rest of a house that had asbestos, methamphetamine residue, was foreclosed and considered by neighbors to be a blight on the neighborhood. 

Located at 3007 W. 2960 South, the house in question underwent an extreme makeover via the Idea House program by Community Development Corporation of Utah (CDCU), a nonprofit that aims to rehabilitate and preserve affordable housing. The program takes broken-down homes and renovates them to serve as a model home in the community. 

West Valley City joined forces with CDCU, GHID and the Jordan Valley Water Conservation District to extensively rehabilitate the house that had numerous issues including widespread water damage and bacterial contamination. 

“It was a big job just decontaminating it getting it ready for reconstruction,” said Diane Warsoff, CEO of CDCU at the remodeled home’s open house in May. 

Remodeling the house was an all-encompassing job. A disaster clean-up crew was brought in to remove environmental contamination such as mold and asbestos. A pitched roof replaced the damaged flat roof. A two-car garage was built with an additional master suite, bathroom and closet created behind the garage. 

There was even a chicken wandering around the yard and house, which construction workers named Gertrude. 

Kitchen appliances were replaced with newer, energy efficient ones. Landscaping was redesigned with a rear patio, raised garden beds and less lawn to reduce watering needs. The existing shed in the backyard was even repainted. 

“This house is awesome,” Warsoff said. “The experience was great, we love working with West Valley City.” 

CDCU acquired the house for $90,000 and the partnership with WVC means they use CDBG funds to bridge the gap between what it costs and what it costs to sell. The house went on the market in May for $230,000.  

Warsoff said the house will be sold to a family on the condition that the purchasers aren’t making more than 80 percent of the area median income so that they “keep the house affordable.”

This was the fourth time it’s been done in West Valley with a fifth coming later this year. Steve Pastorik, city planning director, said the city’s subsidy is usually between $30,000 and $40,000 for these projects. 

He said the city’s benefit is twofold since the house acquired is typically in the poorest condition on the street. 

“In one way it helps maintain property values in the area, but also to spur reinvestment in other homes in the neighborhood,” Pastorik said. “We do these open houses so people can come and see how it was remodeled so they can get ideas for their house.” 

Neighbors would often stop by during construction to inquire how different tasks were being done. Warsoff said the open house allows people to discover inexpensive ways to improve the quality of their own homes. 

One neighbor said the renovated house looked “100 percent” better than it did prior. Warsoff said with similar homes remodeled in Kearns, crime calls decrease by 80 percent in the surrounding community. 

“Even though it seems like it’s just a one-off thing, just being one house, the impact on the community, as a whole, is really, really significant,” she said.