By ANDREA POTEET
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – Emotions ran high Monday as the city signed an ordinance awarding the sale of its first Neighborhood Stabilization Program house.
The remodeled house, in the 200 block of Cedar, was sold for $100,000 to Shawn Slagle, who plans to live there with her two children, Elizabeth, 6, and Mark, 9.
The NSP 2 program, a project of the U.S. Department of Housing, is designed to offer affordable housing to moderate and low-income families who have undergone credit counseling.
Through the program, Slagle, who now rents a home in Wyandotte, purchased the house through the program with a $73,000 mortgage; the rest is covered by a Michigan State Housing Development Authority loan that is forgiven after 15 years of living in the house.
Slagle submitted a bid for the house Dec. 15, after the required lottery for the house yielded no entries.
“I had so many people praying for me that I felt like George Bailey (from the 1946 film “It’s a Wonderful Life”),” Slagle said. “Two days before Christmas, I experienced a joy like no other — the sight of these two little faces lit up when I said, ‘Do you want to go see our new house?’”
Mayor Joseph Peterson welcomed Slagle to the city and to the rehabilitated house, which the city completely remodeled with funding from the $7.8 million NSP 2 grant.
“This program is meant for families like you,” Peterson said, “for your daughter and your son to grow up in a good neighborhood.”
Resident Richard Miller said the sale was proof that fears about the program’s homeowners, which spurned a string of vandalisms at NSP 2 building sites, are unfounded.
“We’ve had so many rumors about these homes,” Miller said, “what kind of people they are going to bring in, and now the community can see exactly what kind of people are coming in – a beautiful family is coming in. Quit worrying, let’s move on with this.”
But one councilman had concerns about the project moving forward. Councilman Daniel Galeski voiced concerns that a letter about the program from City Engineer Mark Kowalewski stated the houses were to be sold on a “first-come, first-serve,” basis. Galeski said he worried that letter set a precedent that the city would have to accept bids lower than the purchase price of NSP 2 houses if they were placed first.
Councilman James DeSana disagreed, saying the resolution on the project clearly states that the appraised value is the only acceptable bid.
“The resolution prevails,” DeSana said, “not a letter from an individual, whether it be a department head or not.”