Neighborhood comes alive on city’s north side

Source: The Review - George Salsberry (04-24-06)


John Wiltse, at left, and Pat Silverman, at right, of Rural Opportunities, Inc. talk with Candace Lalli, one of the residents of the Alliance Home properties at a tour home following the ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday.

The peaceful neighborhood feel of Elmside Street was disrupted Friday afternoon.

Stuck in the middle of the street on the northern border of Alliance was a white tent, what proved to be an unnecessary precaution against foretasted rain. Inside the tent, Rural Opportunities Inc. and its partners celebrated.

Celebrated the completion of Alliance Homes II, the construction of 37 three- and four-bedroom homes in the city.

Twenty-four homes were constructed on Elmside and Klinger Avenue. The remaining homes were built on sites scattered throughout the city.All of the homes, Rural Opportunities officials report, are already rented and a waiting list is growing.

Stuart Mitchell, chief executive officer of Rural Opportunities Inc., wondered if the waiting list might signal the need for an Alliance Homes III.

But Friday afternoon wasn’t set aside for contemplating Rural Opportunities future plans, it was for celebrating what the housing organization and its partners had accomplished.

“These are homes, not houses,” Mayor Toni Middleton said. Rural Opportunities, he added, has built “a wonderful neighborhood,” has made an investment in the community and its people.

Alliance resident William Kilgore, chairman of the board of directors of Rural Opportunities Housing of Ohio and a member of ROI’s national board, called Friday “a grand, grand day.” He told the audience that the quality of the homes’ construction ensures they “will not be here and gone quickly.”

Michal Urrutia, executive director of ROI of Ohio, thought back to 1985 when ROI and Alliance were beginning a relationship. “We have come a long way,” she said, “it was not done without people of vision.”

Jay Golden, senior director for real estate development for ROI’s national headquarters in Rochester, N.Y. saluted the different groups that came together to make Alliance Homes II possible: the architect RDL, the builder NPR, First Merit Bank, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, National Equity Fund and Neighbor Works America. They were, Golden said, “devoted to doing this.”

“Building homes,” Mitchell said, “is what it is all about” as he discussed the public-private partnership that had created Alliance Homes II.

One of the new residents of Elmside Street, Candace Lalli, came to the podium to offer a thank you to ROI and its partners. She told the officials she felt fortunate to have the affordable house for herself and her two children.

The speeches finished, the group met at the concrete driveway of one of the new homes. Mayor Middleton, armed with the scissors for the ribbon cutting, offered the task to Lalli.

Finished with celebrating the end of Alliance Homes II, the ROI officials boarded a small bus for a road trip to Salem. There the group gathered to celebrate a beginning, the groundbreaking for a new senior citizens housing complex that will provide 46 garden apartments.

Photo By: Kevin Graff

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