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Back on Vermont Street – Putting some meat on the old bones

By Brett DeNeve:

Yesterday’s article, viewable here, took a look at Mike Maywalt’s property in the works, 464 Vermont St. (lead photo – right), as well as shed some light on how neighboring property owner Dave Weitzel, of 458 (lead photo – left), couldn’t help but notice the state of 464’s disarray prior to Maywalt’s involvement. Now, a year and a half later, both houses push forward towards reform, leaving Weitzel to his devices.

Weitzel's house before... you can see Maywalt's house on the right (before he owned it)
Weitzel’s house before… you can see Maywalt’s house on the right (before he owned it)

Today it’s a much different story as Weitzel is underway with improvements that take the old bones of the house and put them to good use…

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Right inside the front door of 458 is a staircase leading upstairs; I couldn’t help but notice the wood. “Anything I can keep and restore, I do,” said Weitzel. A worker came in through the back door of the house and needed Weitzel to help him cut a piece of wood. I took the chance to venture up the stairs and look around.

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The hallway of the second floor was originally not even a hallway and represented the back walls of the top floor bedrooms.

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If you can imagine the blueprint literally being turned 180 degrees, both you and Weitzel share his vision.

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Back downstairs; to the right if you are looking straight at the stairs, the place opens right up for the kitchen, living room, and dining room spaces.

This open space used to be clogged up with walls but, thankfully, they were taken down.

Kitchen space - before and after
Kitchen space – before and after

I caught a glimpse of what looked like a possible future laundry room with new tiling as I followed the kitchen hallway back towards the other end of the house.

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By the time I had re-appeared on Vermont St., some of the crew had started getting their hands dirty with the property’s front steps.

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After snapping a picture I turned to see Weitzel looking across the street at an overgrown lot. “That’s the shit I can’t stand,” he said.

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It’s these abandoned lots that can take away from the hard work being done by people like Maywalt and Weitzel. It’s so easy to look at what used to be a vacant, boarded up house and appreciate the time, money, and sweat that was put into it to bring it back to life. But with a lot like this, literally across from Weitzel’s property, one can’t help but get a little infuriated.

“Those are two unregistered vehicles, which is illegal. A boat is sitting back there, there’s garbage too,” Weitzel continued as he shook his head.

Like any battle though, you can’t get concerned with the casualties when you are nursing some key soldiers back to health. Yes, this overgrown lot harbors just what a majority home-owner community, like right here on Vermont St. for example, doesn’t want in their neighborhood, and rightfully so. But, trying to stay positive, there could be another lot just like it across the street, and there’s not. There are two houses being renovated to bring a little more life into this area. In fact, with Maywalt’s purchasing of 464, all but one house on Vermont St. bares signs of life.

385, the last boarded up house on this street, was listed on the properties featured in the City’s on-going auction. Will someone step up to the plate? According to Weitzel, it’s only a matter of time.

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Maywalt and Weitzel are showing us what can be done with housing stock that many people rend to pass by. From beautiful old hardwood floors to small rooms that can be banged out to create dramatic living spaces, there are plenty of gems to be picked up for anyone who can see the vision (and has a good contractor).

 

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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