For three years, Jay and Mary North looked for something they thought was impossible: a house they both liked and could afford for their family.
Finally, the West Valley couple found their dream house thanks to a new affordable housing development in the Guadalupe neighborhood.The opening of Argyle Court was celebrated Thursday by an official from the U.S. Federal Reserve, Salt Lake City Mayor DeeDee Corradini and Salt Lake Neighborhood Housing Services.
Argyle Court, 650 W. 300 North, was built near the turn of the century, but the 18 bungalows became a "miniature ghetto" as drugs and graffiti scarred the small subdivision.
Neighborhood Housing Services bought the land last year and demolished all the existing buildings. Three houses, about 1,600 square feet each, have since been built, including the Norths' two-story three-bedroom home.
Prices range from $120,900 to $122,900, and include appliances, air-conditioning and a two-car garage.
"We fell in love with it the first time we saw it," Jay North said.
Twelve houses will eventually fill the area. Another affordable housing project is already in the planning stages nearby.
Lawrence Lindsey, governor for the Federal Reserve, said public-private partnerships were making "real change" for affordable housing in Salt Lake City and other communities across the country.
"It's exciting . . . it's great," said Lindsey, who also is chairman of the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp., which oversees NHS. "We've learned Washington-imposed solutions don't work."
Between now and 1998, there will be 10,000 new homeowners in similar affordable housing projects across the nation, Lindsey said.
Scot Barraclough, of NHS, lives just blocks from Argyle Court. He said the area changed visibly after the dilapidated houses were torn down. Children started riding their bikes and mothers were pushing strollers near the neighborhood again.
"By getting rid of that, people aren't afraid to be here," Barraclough said. "In five years, you're not going to be able to touch this neighborhood" in terms of quality.
Also kicked off Thursday was "Cool Communities," a national program that promotes curbing urban heat by planting trees and using light, reflective colors on surfaces. Salt Lake City is the eighth city in the Cool Communities program.
The celebration was part of NeighborWorks Week.