Councilwoman successor named

NAPPANEE — Nappanee Common Council members announced Dec. 3 that councilwoman Janet Brown would step down from her Council Person At-Large position at year’s end. Brown has completed the first year of a four-year term.
It was announced that Jacob Dermott, who resides in the city’s Arbor Court, will fill Brown’s at-large position for the remaining three years of her term. It was also announced that Nappanee Streets and Parks Superintendent/Manager, Wayne Scheumann, will retire from the Street Department effective Dec. 31. He will continue with the city only overseeing Nappanee Parks and Recreations Department, beginning Jan. 1. Stepping into to the position overseeing the city street department will be current employee Brent Warren — also a Nappanee Volunteer Fireman.
Scheumann will remain in his position over the parks system until March. No plans for a replacement in that position have been named.
Scott Hughes, president, Hughes Associates, Inc., South Bend, visited the meeting to update the council on plans involving the Neighborhood Stabilization Project 3 (NSP3). The City of Nappanee has been granted $1.1 million thru a HUDD grant to spend on renovating homes, and create more affordable housing to first-time home buyers. Those who qualify are people with low to moderate incomes. Elkhart County first received money through the grant, and was made responsible for choosing which cities within its borders would receive shares of the grant.
Nappanee was among the chosen, and will now use the $1.1 million to purchase vacant houses, renovate or replace them, make them available for low to moderate income buyers, and offer opportunities to assist in with loans to make the purchase.
“We try to focus on first-time home buyers first,” said Hughes. “Then we try to find ways to help those who qualify with whatever help they need in securing a loan to buy these homes.
“For example, if we finish one of these houses, and it’s appraised for $125,000…when someone who qualifies for the program comes to us and says they have $2,000 down but can only be approved by the bank for up to $100,000, this program can make up the difference to secure the loan.”
In return the buyer must agree to pay back the amount received through the program unless other arrangements are made, or different plans developed, by those in charge of the program. The new homeowners will also be committed to staying in the residence long-term to avoid resale for profit scams. Each time a home is purchased the money gained goes back into the program to be used for future housing purchases and revitalizations.
HUDD grant monies received by Elkhart County are monitored by the State of Indiana. The City of Nappanee maintains property ownership until loans owed to the city housing program are repaid. Hughes and Associates, Inc. has been hired by the city to directly oversee the Nappanee housing development plan. The company helps determine which kind of properties could best benefit thru the program for revitalization of the area, assistance to qualifying individuals and families, and replenishing the program’s funding resources.
Hughes and Associates, Inc. also monitors developers to ensure proper construction and redevelopment of each home according to government standards and guidelines.
Approximately a quarter of Nappanee’s $1.1 million grant money received has already been used on the program to purchase the five homes under development.
Planning is underway to revitalize three of them. Lead-based paint will be removed, and other measures taken to bring the homes up to code and habitable. Two are in need of total destruction due to irreparable conditions.
Several council members questioned whether the new houses would blend in with the neighborhoods surrounding them.
“Yes, they will,” assured Scott Hughes. “These are not what you would traditionally think of as government housing homes. They will be nice two-story, two-garage homes that we expect to market between $100,000 and $125,000.”
His brief description included average internal layout and external siding and roofing to match other homes in the local housing market. It is expected that when all five homes are finished and sold there will be enough money re-entered into the local program for purchase and renovation of future homes.
Already two additional homes are being considered for future purchase.