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To rehab or demolish: That is the question for Geneva city home

For years, neighbors on North Genesee Street watched a once-stately city home turn into an abandoned eyesore.

The city eventually obtained 7 N. Genesee St. for back taxes, along with a number of other vacant properties, and sought to dispose of them.

However, there were concerns about just what could be done with the North Genesee Street property, given its poor condition.

The non-profit Blueprint Geneva envisioned converting the massive home into an “ownership cooperative,” in which the building would be broken down into smaller units but with a common kitchen and living room space. Blueprint Geneva’s Jackie Augustine said the aim was to provide residents of lesser means a chance at home-ownership.

However, at City Council’s November meeting Augustine said when they walked into the building, which had undergone no maintenance for several years while caught up in litigation over the city’s seizure for back taxes, Blueprint determined the home was not a good candidate for the concept.

She said there were “gaping holes” in the roof that had caused the middle of the home to collapse.

“We had high hopes for 7 N. Genesee St.,” she told Council, but the group concluded it was “beyond what we thought could be restored” other than for “minimal habitability.”

Instead, Blueprint suggested the building be demolished at the city’s expense and turned into a community garden to serve an envisioned ownership cooperative at an adjacent neighborhood home.

Augustine said Friday that in talking with residents near the home, “we learned that the community preference was for the house to be taken down and the lot maintained for community use.”

However, that does not appear to be the direction the city is going.

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