Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

City and volunteers spruce up bungalow in time for 17th annual BungalowFest

ST. PETERSBURG — Erma Hannah needed some help.

But the retired school cafeteria cook didn't ask for anyone to paint her home and perform other repairs to bring it up to code.

Instead, a public-private partnership of neighborhood volunteers and a city team of fixer-uppers reached out to her and spruced up her home for free this year.

"I appreciate everything they did," said Hannah, 67, sitting in the living room of her 1935 bungalow at 2925 Second Ave. N in Historic Kenwood.

Living on a fixed income made it difficult to pay for the repairs herself, but a city codes enforcement inspector alerted the neighborhood team or "n-team" at City Hall, which works out of Neighborhood Affairs administrator Mike Dove's office.

The city pays for the repairs after determining that the homeowner is not physically or financially able to fix up their home on their own, Dove said.

The city coordinated with the Historic Kenwood Partnership and Youth Build, a nonprofit that works with at-risk youths on building projects. Neighborhood churches like First United Methodist and the Foundry also participated.

Youth Build built a wooden deck and the Kenwood partnership painted Hannah's house. Another Kenwood volunteer group planted flowers and did other landscaping.

Such public-private coordination has worked well, Dove said. Last year, 160 properties received help from the "n-team,'' which usually spends between $800 and $1,200 on a property. Often, corporations donate time or materials.

"The idea is to stimulate volunteerism," said Dove, who started the program more than 20 years ago.

La Auna Lewis, Historic Kenwood Partnership's chairwoman, said her group has worked on seven homes this year.

"It's been a snowball effect. Entire blocks have taken up the routine," she said.

People who have had their homes repaired often will volunteer to help on other properties, but it's not a requirement, Lewis said.

The group has started to expand its efforts to North Kenwood and across Central Avenue to the Palmetto Park neighborhood.

Kenwood real estate values have skyrocketed in recent years as restored bungalows on tree-lined streets have become a destination neighborhood.

It's a far cry from the struggling neighborhood that started BungalowFest 17 years ago, said Bill Heyen, former president of the neighborhood association.

Recently, homes have been selling for $350,000 and higher. The neighborhood became trendy about 10 years ago, took a hit in the recession, but is smoking hot again, Heyen said.

He expects about 700 people to buy tickets for the home tours.

"Many people take the tour and end up buying a home," Heyen said.

They won't get a chance to see the inside of Hannah's house. She's not comfortable with "people off the street" poking through her house. And she has no plans to sell.

The tour will stop outside her house to showcase the rehab work, Heyen said.

This year's BungalowFest is Saturday. Eight homes will be open to people who buy tickets ($15 pre-sale, $20 on Saturday in Seminole Park). Three home artist studios will also be on the tour. Last year, the City Council approved a zoning overlay that allowed artist studios in homes in the neighborhood.

Contact Charlie Frago at cfrago@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow@CharlieFrago.

City and volunteers spruce up bungalow in time for 17th annual BungalowFest 11/04/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 4, 2015 4:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Car bomb kills 13, injures 24 in Baghdad; Islamic State claims responsibility

    World

    BAGHDAD — A car bomb exploded outside a popular ice cream shop in central Baghdad just after midnight today, killing 13 people and wounding 24, hospital and police officials said.

  2. Leaping shark floors angler in Australia

    World

    In The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway's protagonist battles for three days to pull in his prized catch. For Terry Selwood, it came a little more suddenly.

    A 9-foot shark lies on the deck of a fishing boat at Evans Head, Australia on Sunday. Fisherman Terry Selwood said he was left with a badly bruised and bleeding right arm where the shark struck him with a fin as it landed on him on the deck. [Lance Fountain via AP]
  3. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  4. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber

    World

    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  5. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant

    Nation

    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]