The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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World, nation, state

June 2, 2014

Abandoned Ohio home slated to be restored for veterans

WARREN —  A northeastern Ohio home built in 1887 and abandoned in recent years will be turned into transitional housing for veterans returning from active duty.

The Trumbull County Land Bank program had selectively publicized that it was willing to offer the Warren property for free if it found a renovator with the plans and financial support the more than $460,000 needed to restore it.

A woman in nearby Youngstown who learned about the property through a Facebook post came forward with the plan for a privately funded renovation to create a veterans home, the Warren Tribune Chronicle reported.

A lumber merchant built the 5,561-square-foot Queen Anne-style home, which includes four bedrooms, five bathrooms and details like carved wooden columns and a decommissioned elevator. It became vacant in 2006, and the land bank took control of it through a tax foreclosure last year.

“We know it’s worth someone’s renovation money, but we didn’t know who,” said Matt Martin, executive director of the Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership.

The who turned out to be Anna Gasser, 39, who developed her vision for transitional housing with a community feel after communicating with soldiers overseas.

“This will be five or six guys who have lived through similar experiences,” Gasser told the newspaper. “It will still give some sense of, ‘I’ve got your back.”’

A recent feature on the property in “This Old House” magazine has generated hundreds of calls. Martin is redirecting callers to other vacant buildings in the local historic district, hoping to pique their interest in revitalizing others.

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