Restoring stories

CONO, partners aim to build community pride, curb appeal through home renovations

Volunteers will paint houses, work on landscaping and perform other light home renovations this summer as part of the Council of Neighbors and Organizations’ NeighborUp! Neighborhood Pride Program.
COURTESY PHOTO/CONO

A home is filled with stories, both the number of floors in a residence or the tales that happened within its walls.

Now the Council of Neighbors and Organizations (CONO) is looking for a few Southeast houses that could use a little help restoring its stories. More than a few, actually.

“Just apply,” said Julie Ramirez, CONO’s Southeast community coordinator.

Her organization is teaming with Brothers Redevelopment, Next Step Ministries, the RISE Coalition and the City of Colorado Springs Neighborhood Services Division to give some free TLC to homes in need of a little curb appeal.

The Neighborhood Pride Program provides exterior home paintings, light repairs, removal of unwanted items and landscaping. The deadline to apply is March 22.

The program also works with neighborhood leaders to establish a plan for maintaining the neighborhood and paying it forward. That can mean anything from hosting a neighborhood clean-up to throwing a block party, Ramirez said.

“It doesn’t have to be dramatic,” she said, “just something you can do to pay it forward to the community.”

 

Roots of rehabilitation

There’s a correlation between a freshly painted and well-maintained home and improved community engagement.

The Center for Community Progress cites visible improvements to the housing stock; increased home value; improved neighborhood images; and increased standards for housing quality among the benefits of home reno and curb-appeal boosters. The center is among the nation’s leading nonprofits for urban, suburban and rural communities seeking to address blight and the full cycle of property revitalization.

Consider it something of a beautification trickle-down effect.

Like the homes it targets, the Neighborhood Pride project is a revitalization in and of itself. It grew out of a plan to paint houses around Panorama Park, as a kickoff to the redesign and revitalization of the open space.

“A couple of years ago they did this,” Ramirez said. “They painted houses and did landscaping to try to fulfill pride in the neighborhood.”

As interest in and momentum surrounding Southeast continue to grow, it seemed like a natural fit to bring back the pride-building plan for 2019.

 

 Calling all homeowners

The program is open to homeowners living in Southeast Colorado Springs. Houses listed for sale may not participate.

Properties will be selected from completed applications, only; and a straight-forward digital application can be accessed by visiting cscono.org/neighborhood-pride-program and scrolling down the page to “Download Application here.” They may also be completed and dropped at the CONO office, 1506 N. Hancock Ave. For further details, contact Ramirez at jramirez@cscono.org.

Completed applications will be provided to both Next Step Ministries and Brothers Redevelopment, and assessments will be conducted by both organizations this spring, allowing experts to analyze both the extent of the project and the materials needed to complete it.

If your application is approved, according to the CONO website, you can expect to have an appointment set to inspect the property.

The project is powered by volunteers and materials are donated by community partner, so it  comes at no expense to the homeowner. The only requirements for homeowners are:

  • Getting an application completed on time.
  • Working with assigned volunteers as soon as they arrive on your property.
  • Only asking the volunteers to complete work within the scope of the approved project. (They won’t be asked to do anything additional.)
  • Being present or having an adult on site while the work is being done.
  • Keeping pets inside during the improvements.
  • Working with Next Step and Brothers to create a plan to pay it forward.

The project is expected to run through the summer, Ramirez said.

“It’s just to help out,” she said. “Creating these connections with people is beneficial for everybody. Not only can you call on [your neighbors] in times of need, but they may have resources.

“We’re better together.”

regan.foster@southeastexpress.org

 

HOW TO REGISTER

For more information on the Council of Neighbors and Organizations’ Neighborhood Pride Program, visit the CONO website.

Digital applications to submit your home for consideration are available here.

They may also be returned to the CONO office at 1506 N. Hancock Ave.

For further details, call (719) 471-3105 or email jramirez@cscono.org.

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