Nov. 15, 2007
HOMEOWNERSHIP PROGRAM HELPS OWENSVILLE
OWENSVILLE—Ravyn and Jacob fell in love with the home at 209 W. Madison St. in Owensville the first time they saw it. Renovation work had been completed on the four-bedroom, two story home, and Meramec Community Enhancement Corp. and their Realtor—Cathlee Swain of Cathlee Realty—were hosting an open house to find a prospective homebuyer. Kathy Luther and her two children were looking for just right home to buy. Ravyn, a third grader, and Jacob, a first grader, found it.
“This is for them,” said Luther, who is employed by the school district. “The kids picked the house.” And on Sept. 26, 2007, the home became theirs as Kathy signed the closing documents that made her a homebuyer.
It had been a long road to this point. In March 2004, Legends Bank—then, Linn State Bank and Charter 1 Bank— donated the home to Meramec Community Enhancement Corporation for its homeownership program in exchange for tax credits. Volunteers and staff of Meramec Regional Planning Commission had spent many hours over the past three years, renovating the home to like new condition—yet preserving the antique woodwork that gave the home its unique character.
Ravyn’s favorite part of the home is large walk-in closet in her upstairs bedroom. The large closet—more like a small room—has a slanted ceiling, allowing plenty of room for clothes—or toys, whichever the case may be. Or it could be a hide-out for Jacob.
Since 1994, MRPC and its 501(c)3 nonprofit counterpart—the Meramec Community Enhancement Corporation—have been buying properties in need of repair, renovating them and selling them to income-eligible, first-time homebuyers. In doing so, MCEC typically assists the homebuyer in arranging financing, assists with the down payment and pays closing costs. MCEC also provides a new stove and refrigerator for the home.
Since 1994, MPRC and MCEC have renovated and sold 26 homes, including this one. Another house is being remodeled in Cuba.
The concept is similar to Habitat for Humanity, however, homes are not built from the ground up, and homebuyers must secure their own financing. Homes are sold at or below appraised value.
“It’s fulfilling when we get to the end of a renovation project, and you have a family who can experience the excitement of homeownership,” said Chuck Cantrell. “Kathy and her family seem to be a great fit for this home. It has plenty of room that they can grow into.”
Persons interested in learning more about the Cuba house can contact Cantrell at MRPC at (573) 265-2993 or by email at ccantrell at meramecregion.org.
Cutline: AN ABANDONED HOUSE is now a new home for Kathy Luther and her children, Ravyn and Jacob. Pictured here, after signing the closing paperwork, are Marsha Farris of Cathlee Realty, who handled the sale of the home, Kathy Luther, Ravyn and Jacob, and Bonnie Prigge, assistant director of Meramec Regional Planning Commission, who represented Meramec Community Enhancement Corp.