Last summer, I got a call from one of my neighbors who was frantic that his out of town landlord was scrapping the front porch of the house where he was residing. The porch was in rough shape, and the property owner figured that it would be a lot less expensive to remove the porch, than rebuild it. Unfortunately, the owner (Canadian) had never kept the porch up to snuff, which is another story altogether.
I immediately realized that there was a serious issue at hand, not just for my neighbor, but for the neighborhood. So I offered to call the property owner. After getting his phone number, I dialed him up. At first, the guy was super skeptical as to why I was so concerned about a porch that wasn’t my own. After explaining that I felt that the porch added value to the house and to the neighborhood, and that Buffalo was on the rise and it was the wrong time to disinvest in the house, he told me that he would think about it.
It turns out that the owner opted to have the porch rebuilt, instead of scrapping it.
Fast forward one year later. The owner put the house on the market and it recently sold. I saw him standing on the front lawn, so I congratulated him on his house. It was then that he waved me over. He said, “I just want to thank you. I got more money for the house than I ever would have without the front porch. The woman who bought it told me that it was one of the main reasons that she wanted the house. Due to the investment in the porch, I also replaced the broken leaded glass windows with custom leaded glass instead of putting ordinary glass windows in (the previous tenant had smashed them out). I never would have done that without you telling me about your concern for the house.”
To me, this is a big win for my block. Not only does the house retain more of its original character, it sounds as if we’re getting a nice new neighbor who appreciates the functionality of the porch and the ornamental nature of the windows (bonus!). That means that she will most likely be a good caretaker moving forward.
Now, I can’t wait to meet her and tell her about the Buffalo Porchfest concept (set for Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 ). Sometimes it’s the small victories along the way that make you feel good about the future of the city.
This post is dedicated to Steel