Anyone who takes a closer look at Provo's downtown area will notice that some of the most historic and once-prestigious homes are located right in the center of the city.
To keep those homes from becoming dilapidated, a group of citizens has organized as Townhall Neighbors Together to tidy up their neighborhood, which extends from Center Street to the railroad tracks (about Sixth South) and from University Avenue to Fifth West.The City Council has contributed to the cause by designating the TNT neighborhood as a target area to concentrate on improvements. In Tuesday's meeting council members approved the target area, making community development block grant funds available for specific neighborhood improvements.
With the designation, the city will have $10,000 available from the housing rehabilitation budget for use in the neighborhood.
"I think the neighborhood deserves the focused attention," said Jim Kenyon, rehabilitation specialist for city redevelopment. "They have worked hard. They organized and came to us."
The TNT explosion began last Saturday with a cleanup kickoff in which Mayor Joe Jenkins and other city officials joined in to revitalize the residential area.
More than 200 neighbors were involved in the project. Throughout the day, residents were encouraged to clean their yards and homes. All trash left in front of homes was picked up at the end of the day. Every trash bin was filled to capacity as were an Army truck and trailer - six times.
"Everybody is so motivated and excited, it's fun," said TNT Chairwoman Cindy Richards. "People are now interested and involved in neighborhood activities and are more aware of what is going on in the neighborhood. What we did in one day would have taken a year's worth of individual service projects."
In June the group plans to fix up and paint homes and fences.
TNT's long-range plans are to join hands with those who affectthe neighborhood, Richards said. These include the owner occupants, off-site landlords, businesses and the city.
"We are a neighborhood in transition and we want that transition to be positive," she said. "We are already integrated with the city. They have been very helpful."
Of the neighborhood's 430 dwellings, 300 of them are rentals, she said. Nearly half of the owner-occupied homes, 65, are occupied by elderly or physically disabled people.
"We are interested in preserving the history of the homes, and we are interested in maintaining the integrity of community feeling," she said. "The people are wonderful here and we have a good mix of ages. They are solid people unaffected by elitism."
Some of the homes in the area are beautiful but have been rented numerous times without being repaired. TNT hopes to change that, Richards said. Anybody interested in TNT and improving historic Provo can contact Richards at 374-1245.