Bridges Outreach completes renovation of historic house | Local news

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Local nonprofit Bridges Outreach has completed renovations on a historic house and is the process of selling the home.

The organization completed the transformation of the the house at 725 N. Courtland Ave. last month, according to a press release, and is in the process of selling it to a member of the Bridges Community who is a Kokomo High School graduate. The new homeowner will already have equity built in, as well.

Bridges Outreach serves hundreds of at-risk kids through tutoring, after-school programs and mentorships and provides job and training opportunities.

The nonprofit was gifted the property by the city of Kokomo last June after the nonprofit approached Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore last January and inquired about city-owned houses that could be utilized for the organization’s new housing program.

The goal of the new housing program, CEO of Bridges Travis Taflinger said last year, is to increase homeownership in the city, with the idea that homeowners will have pride in their property, maintain it and, thus, provide the homeowners and surrounding neighborhood more stability. The nonprofit hopes to renovate and sell one to three houses a year.

“At Bridges, we see a lot of bad landlords, and a lot of them that are bad are out-of-towners, and they just don’t care about the community, and they don’t do a really good job of taking care of the folks,” Taflinger said at the time, adding that the nonprofit is expecting to flip and sell one to three houses a year to a Bridges family.

The two-story Italianate-style brick house, according to historical accounts, was built by Rawson Vaile, whose name is preserved in Vaile Avenue. It stands out — in a good way — among the other homes in the neighborhood and is located adjacent the Cloverleaf Trail.

Vaile — an anti-slavery journalist, lawyer, teacher, school superintendent and an early settler of Kokomo in 1857 — constructed the 2,000-square-foot brick building in 1875, making it one of the oldest homes in the neighborhood.

The property was gifted to the city’s Blight Elimination Program in 2018, but instead of demolishing it, the city, under former Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight, decided to preserve it. The city spent money on brick repairs, tuckpointing on the houses’ exterior walls, new doors, fixed up the roof and installed new windows.

Bridges was given a grant by the United Way of Howard and Tipton Counties to help cover renovation costs. Other partners and donors include:

  • City of Kokomo – donated house and property
  • ZKB Contracting-Major contractor
  • Mygrant Realty & Appraisals-major donor and project management
  • Community First Bank of Indiana
  • The Hardie Group
  • Merrell Brothers
  • NIPSCO
  • Star Building Supply
  • Advantage Housing
  • Lerche and Sons Electric
  • Budget Blinds of Kokomo and Lafayette
  • Bridgeway Community Church
  • Fortune’s Heating & Cooling
  • Multi-Service roofing
  • Clifford Signs
  • Dowdy’s All-in-One



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