A crumbling, two-family house in the Dixwell neighborhood — purchased by Yale last year and donated to the Beulah Land Development Corporation for rehabilitation — now has a new owner.
A dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday morning celebrated the purchase of the home, which is located at 65 Bristol St., across from the future site of the Yale Police Facility and Dixwell-Yale Learning Center. Attendees marveled at the home’s makeover, which includes new siding, roofing, kitchen appliances, flooring and carpeting throughout the 2,300 square-foot space.
“It’s no longer a blight to the neighborhood, it’s an asset to the neighborhood,” said Bruce Alexander, vice president of the Office of New Haven and State Affairs, during the dedication.
The first-time homeowners are James Bradley, a custodian at the Yale Medical School, and his wife Margo. Bradley said there is “no comparison at all” between his current residence and the new home.
“It’s a good feeling. I’ve heard a lot of encouraging words from different people,” he said.
Bradley bought the house through the Yale Homebuyer Program, which provides a $30,000 grant over 10 years to employees who purchase homes in the Dixwell neighborhood.
Ward 22 Alderman Drew King said Dixwell needs more families like the Bradleys to maintain a sense of community. He said while crime is no longer a major problem on Bristol Street, other areas of the neighborhood still have significant drug-related problems.
“This house ain’t no joke,” King said. “Our neighborhood needs to come back up to where it should be.”
King said the area along Bristol Street began to improve substantially about three years ago, with the assistance of a block-watch group and police patrols. Isiah Mack, the block-watch captain, said the area’s residents, many of whom are elderly, are pleased about the positive changes.
“In order for them to be comfortable, we had to get rid of some stuff here,” Mack said.
The Beulah Land Development Corporation is a local non-profit that is currently working on several other projects in the Dixwell neighborhood, including housing units on Orchard Street and Henry Street. Their mission is not only to make neighborhoods safer and more liveable, but to provide middle- and low-income residents with the opportunity to own a home, said Bishop Theodore L. Brooks, the CEO and president of the development company.
During the dedication, Brooks said he wanted to thank Yale for donating the home and working with them.
“This is just the beginning of where we really want to go to make an impact on the community and impact on New Haven,” he said.
The house at 65 Bristol St., along with a smaller brick building next door, was formerly owned by NER Construction. But neighbors complained that the company — which stored tools in the house and kept the windows boarded up — was an eyesore and caused problems for the neighborhood, said Reggie Solomon, program director for the Office of New Haven and State Affairs.
The University originally intended to only to buy a smaller, brick building next to the house, but NER Construction would only sell the two together, Solomon said.
Yale now rents out the smaller building to the administrative offices of Perco Landscaping.
The renovated house was also the childhood home of former New Haven Mayor John Daniels.