, Salem, MA

Local News

December 27, 2013

Habitat home slated for Coolidge Road in Danvers

DANVERS — An abandoned house on Coolidge Road that has been boarded up for years was torn down on Monday by Habitat for Humanity North Shore, which plans to replace it with an affordable home later this year.

This is the nonprofit’s second project in town. Earlier this year, the group completed a duplex on Mill Street in the former Danversport School playground, which is now a Danvers Housing Authority property. In Woodvale, the project will be a single-family residence, in keeping with the neighborhood.

Construction will begin in the spring on a new, four-bedroom house with two baths.

The dilapidated ranch house, viewed by neighbors as an eyesore, had sat empty for nearly two decades. It took only a few hours for heavy equipment to reduce it to a pile of rubble, according to Gary Cowles, a Beverly resident who is vice president of the board of Habitat for Humanity North Shore. By the end of this week, all that should be left is a flat piece of land, he said.

“I think the neighborhood is very happy we are going to get it cleaned up,” Cowles said.

The house was “a real mess,” filled with abandoned clothing and furniture, he added. Trees had even started to grow inside it.

The 1960s ranch had stood in stark contrast to a neighborhood of well-kept, single-family homes with wide lawns in a part of town bounded by Route 128 to the south and the Proctor Farm conservation area and Beverly Airport to the east. The home is within walking distance of Danvers High.

“It’s probably the nicest property we’ve ever built on,” Cowles said.

The town took the property for back taxes a few years ago and transferred it this year to the Danvers Affordable Housing Trust. With money set aside from the redevelopment of former Danvers State Hospital, the trust paid the back taxes, approximately $40,000, and legal fees, about $3,500, in exchange for the property, which is assessed in town records at nearly $300,000.

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