Council members visit LEADS project
That was the reaction from Buckeye Lake Village Council members Peggy Wells and Margaret Hanson after touring a LEADS housing project in Zanesville last week. The two toured several homes in the Greenwood Avenue area to see how the homes are maintained.
LEADS is seeking low income housing tax credits to build 25-30 single-family homes in Buckeye Lake Village. LEADS expects to learn by May 14 whether this proposal will receive the tax credits necessary to attract investors. If tax credits are allocated to the project, the homes will be built on lots throughout the village where derelict homes have been demolished plus LEADS plans to purchase enough land for about 10 new homes on East Street.
Last year, council members reviewed a similar proposal from LEADS and ultimately declined to support it. Neither Hanson nor Wells were council members last year. Council approval is no longer needed and LEADS secured a letter of support from Mayor Clay Carroll before their latest proposal was even brought to council.
Among other Zanesville housing, LEADS manages 23 four-bedroom singlefamily units in the Greenwood Avenue area. The homes are rentals and roughly 10 years old.
“When my kids were little, I wouldn’t let them walk down Greenwood,” said Rita Paul, who manages the properties for LEADS. The area had been plagued with poverty, drug use, and violence. That has changed since the LEADS housing was built. “All the (LEADS tenants) know each other. They don’t want anything like that in their neighborhood,” said Paul.
The Zanesville homes, which are significantly larger than those planned for Buckeye Lake Village, are inspected quarterly to ensure tenants are maintaining them properly. Paul said tenants are families who are working and raising children. Disruptive behavior is not tolerated, nor is any sort of destruction of the property. “If they cause noise or trouble, they get evicted,” she said, adding that neighbors will not tolerate disruptive behavior either, and report problems quickly.
Wells said she was overall impressed with the Zanesville development and would support LEADS’ similar efforts in Buckeye Lake Village. “I’ve tried to keep an open mind and have listened to all opinions on the LEADS housing project,” she said. “Originally, I had some concerns about maintenance issues but after seeing the Zanesville project, I would support the project that was designed for our village.” She said the 23 homes in Zanesville appear to be well constructed and, even though they are 10 years old, are nicely maintained both inside and out.
“The housing project would be a good alternative to the empty lots throughout the village and would also add to our tax base and the number of water customers we serve,” Wells said, adding that those residents who have concerns about any maintenance issues at the Blue Heron condominiums, which LEADS manages, need to work with the complex manager to get their issues addressed.
Hanson said she was very impressed with the Zanesville properties and completely supports the LEADS project in Buckeye Lake. “I support it 150 percent,” she said. “I think LEADS is a really great organization.” Hanson said the visit confirmed her optimism about LEADS’ plans for Buckeye Lake construction. “It can only be good for the (local) economy,” she said.