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Providence Revolving Fund, Rehabilitation & Neighborhood Revitalization Award

Rehabilitation & Neighborhood Revitalization Award for George Wilkinson House, 153 Ontario Street

The house at 153 Ontario Street was constructed in 1890 for George Wilkinson, the general superintendent of the Gorham Manufacturing Company. Designed by Providence architect E. I. Nickerson, the house is located within the South Elmwood Local and National Register Districts, which is a low-income census tract with a majority Minority population.

After the house was foreclosed on in 2008, and vacated in the spring of 2009, the Providence Revolving Fund (PRF), the neighborhood, the City of Providence Planning Department, and Rhode Island Housing identified the property as a very high priority for redevelopment and reuse. Following foreclosure, the house was uninhabitable, with burst pipes, failing plaster, broken or missing doors and mixed wiring throughout. The property was first acquired by the Rhode Island Housing Development Corporation (RIHDC) in 2009, keeping the property maintained and secure for nearly a year. The PRF then acquired the property from RIHDC and began construction several weeks later.

The $650,000 renovation was funded using a combination of Federal, State, City and private funding; including PRF private funds of $350,000, City of Providence HOME, LEAD, and NSP funds, as well as Rhode Island Housing & the State of RI’s NSP funding.

Due to the large scale of the property and its associated high maintenance costs, the property will be sold to an owner-occupant without income restrictions. The three rental units will be income-restricted; two one-bedroom units will be restricted to individuals or families at or below 50% AMI (in 2010, $25,250 for a single person or $28,850 for two people), and one two-bedroom unit will be restricted to individuals or families at or below 80% AMI (in 2010, $40,400 for a single person or $46,200 for two people).

A Perpetual Historic Easement will be placed on the property and held by the PRF. This Easement will protect against any modifications to the exterior of the property as well as the grounds. The PRF will also have a Right of First Refusal on all transfers of ownership.