Sites on Washington Avenue looking brighter


Girard’s Washington Avenue is looking up. As old buildings are replaced with new developments, and abandoned houses are refitted by the local authority, Lee Murray takes a look back at how the street has changed over the past four years.

This small, single-story house in Girard sits a stone’s throw from the library. A former dilapidated foreclosure, it was recently purchased and refurbished with federal money last month. The cost of obtaining and renovating this fixer upper – $100,000.

You know, you take the abandoned and foreclosed homes in a certain neighborhood, and you renovate it, and that makes the whole neighborhood better.

That’s Russell Osman, deputy director of Trumbull Metropolitan Housing Authority. He says these grants stabilize neighborhoods and provide residents with an incentive to improve their own homes.

Yes, that is the idea of the program itself, it’s to make it the nicest home on the block, a model for the rest of the neighborhood.

In four years, the face of Washington Avenue has started to change. Two empty, derelict and dangerously accessible vacant schools were pulled down, first North Avenue and then Washington. An impressive glass-and-brick retirement complex was built on the playing fields of the North Avenue School. James Melfi, the mayor of Girard, was happy to see the blight replaced with new homes and green space.

We have worked for a number of years to try and improve that neighborhood. An abandoned school building was on that site … quite an eyesore

There are several other housing authority projects slated for Girard and surrounding cities. Mayor Melfi thinks every effort, however small, improves way of life in the city.

Every little improvement adds up at the end of the week, at the end of the month, at the end of the year, well guess what? That just made that neighborhood just that much nicer.

Reporting for, I’m Lee Murray.