March 27, 2016

The Place We Call Home (Part One)

Last weekend my husband and I attended the Home and Garden Show sponsored by the Homebuilders and Remodelers Association of CNY (HBRCNY).

The HBRCNY does a really good job with the show, making sure that there are at least a couple of options for folks in each of the common remodeling categories. They also have pretty good representation from their members who build new homes, and some of those booths seemed to be getting quite a bit of interest, as they do every year, from people who dream of having their perfect house, with all of the modern technology, and the kitchen/great room, or the man cave, or the patio and fire pit, or maybe a pool or even waterfront, if they find the right development.

We go to the show almost every year. Sometimes we're on a mission - last year, it was finding someone to paint the house, which was a hugely successful adventure. Our painter was there again this year, featuring 'before and after' pictures of our house that almost took my breath away.  This year it's getting someone to take a look at a maple tree in the back garden that has definitely seen better days; we've already booked the first consultation. Other times, though, we go just to look at what's new and trending in landscaping, patios, fencing, driveways, and renovating old homes like ours.

Our house is a city home, built over 100 years ago.  And that poses some challenges, for sure. The list of  "gee it would be fun to fix..." can get quite long, when we think about it; the reality is we would need a lottery jackpot to take care of everything we could fix. So, we chip away at things that have to be fixed, a bit at a time, watching as the mega-jackpots go to folks in other states, with other dreams.

Pat's lived in Syracuse his entire life; I grew up in the boons but have lived in the city since '79. This is our home. This house, with our gardens and our high ceilings and our porches and our front and back staircases and our pocket doors and all of its other little quirks and perks, and Pat's over 20 years of blood, sweat and tears, is where we want to be.

I wish more people wanted to be here, in the city. I wish more people were here.

I wish more people wanted to live in city neighborhoods like ours: good neighborhoods, generally safe neighborhoods, generally well-taken care of neighborhoods. Neighborhoods with homes having a mix of styles, and ages. On one side of us, the original house dates to 1860; on the other side, the house is just a couple of years older than ours - and two doors up, another oldie, from 1840. Across the street, most of the houses are newer, built between 1920 - 1950 or so.

The neighborhood is racially mixed; we have some houses occupied by families with kids, a couple of homes that are multi-generational, and there's even a shelter for homeless teens a few doors up.

Yes, I wish more people were here, and wanted to be here.

As I've noted in the past, I also wish the HBRCNY would undertake a Parade of Homes in the city of Syracuse, instead of staying in 'burbs.  I think of it every year when we go to the Home and Garden Show, and again each year when the Parade of Homes opens.  This year's Parade, which is really the one we should have had last year but was postponed because of the cold winter, is being held in Manlius, one of the wealthiest suburbs, once again. And once again, no city neighborhood is being swarmed with skilled contractors, with modern technology, with a blitz of construction activity. And that's a shame, because there are lots of neighborhoods in the city that could use Parade-like attention.

Here's my post on this from a while back, which I shared with a prominent city politician; she's not abandoned the idea yet, but she also hasn't made any progress on it, either. I've tried not to bother her too much, but I do touch base with her on occasion to see if there's anything I can do, anyone I can meet with, anyone I can talk with, to help make this happen.

While I've been trying to come up with a way to have a Parade of Homes in Syracuse, someone else has come up with another idea that would move us in a similar direction.  I'll talk about that in my next post.