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Town of Walkerton

 Photo of Walkerton

Building Better Communities is proud to name the Town of Walkerton as one of three 2013 Primacy of Place Awards winners!

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Video: Town Council President Karol Jackson discusses the efforts the Town of Walkerton has taken to advance placemaking in their community.

The Town of Walkerton transformed a blighted neighborhood, making it beautiful, safe, and an affordable place to live. The former West York development was built in the 1940s to provide housing for men returning home from World War II. Intended to be temporary housing, the structures were built without insulation and constructed from plywood. As a result, West York became the most blighted area in the community. Nearly all the homes became rental properties for the city’s poorest citizens. Heating bills often totaled $500 or more during winter months. As originally developed, the streets were too narrow to allow the city’s fire truck access into much of the neighborhood. Multiple attempts were made to remedy the situation but the resources required to complete a project of this scope simply exceeded the city’s capacity.

Beginning in 2009, the town partnered with the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority to access a federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant, creating incentives for private sector investment. Neighborhood Development Associates, Great Lakes Bank, Granite Ridge Builders, West York LLC, and First Source Bank provided financing, experience in housing development and redevelopment, and project management.   

Today, residents are proud to live in what is now named Dogwood Estates, a safe, beautiful, and affordable neighborhood. Tenants earn credit toward the purchase of the properties over time. Utility costs have routinely been cut in half. According to community partners, there were many challenges, but they always found ways to overcome them with the help of many people. “Lessons learned: have great partners, trust, and work together.”