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Ray Boone, KSL TV

South Salt Lake residents seeing neighborhood improvements thanks to 'Idea House'

By Ashley Kewish  |  Posted Apr 20th, 2017 @ 10:33pm


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SOUTH SALT LAKE — Charles Gardner has seen what 60 years have done to his neighborhood in South Salt Lake.

"The porch was open when we bought it," Garner said. "My wife was afraid someone was going to fall off of it."

Gardner bought his home for only $9,500.

"Paid it off after a few years," he added. "Yeah, a lot has changed since then."

The cost of buying a house isn't the only thing that's changed.

"I think that used to be a drug house," Gardner said as he pointed toward the end of his street. "It seems like (this area) has a lot of criminal activity lately. It wasn't that way when I got here."

But in the past few months, he's seeing a different kind of change; a good one.

It's called an "idea house."

"We purchase it, rehabilitate it, and then sell it to a low to moderate income working class family," said Diane Hartz Warsoff with Community Development Corporation of Utah.

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The latest idea house is a partnership between the local nonprofit and city of South Salt Lake. The 'idea' is that it will kick-start the neighborhood.

"Usually these (houses) are in pretty bad shape," Hartz Warsoff said. "This house was contaminated with meth."

But now, it's family ready.

"This house is updated now and I'm sure we'll get some great neighbors," said Sarah Cisneros, the owner of the home next door.

Area residents, like Cisneros and Gardner, are welcoming the changes in the neighborhood.

"I don't want to live in a run-down place," Gardner said.

The South Salt Lake home is the 40th idea house built in Utah since 2010. Not only have neighbors and community organizations seen crime rates decrease, but more buyers are also coming into the neighborhoods.

"It has a great impact on all the neighborhoods," Hartz Warsoff said.

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Ashley Kewish
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