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Dallas Habitat Turning Biker Bar Into Home

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A one-time biker bar is no more after an area non-profit tears it down to build a home.

The old bar came down as part of Habitat for Humanity‘s “Fight the Blight” program near Dallas’ Fair Park.  The new home will be in the “Mills City” neighborhood, and part of a program Habitat for Humanity hopes to help clean up Dallas… a block at a time.

“Well, it was a motorcycle club, and you can imagine the motorcycles coming through all times of night, a lot of traffic, a lot of music,” said neighbor Tasha Bush.  “When I found out y’all was were making it a home—or that Habitat was buying it—that made me happy.”

Tasha and her husband Tarance were among those cheering as the club came down.  They’re excited at the prospects of near-and-long-term change.  “Its’ going to be great to have a house there, and like I say, to build it up,” said Tarance Bush.

Tasha dreams of other potential changes.  “A lot of things for the kids, more community-based activities, places we can shop, (places we can) go and dine.”

It’s an ambitious rebuilding program changing the face of the area.  Habitat wants to create new homes, block-by-block, then move on to the next blighted neighborhood, according to local CEO Bill Hall.  “Removing this (bar) from the center of the neighborhood will allow this neighborhood to sleep better at night, it’ll allow their kids to be able to walk around the neighborhood.”

Habitat for Humanity has torn down 20 dilapidated structures in the area, and will replace them with brand new homes.  In addition, it wants to rehab and generally spruce up the exteriors of 20more.

Habitat is partnering with Dallas’ Innercity Community Development Corporation, another non-profit which also provides housing for low-to-moderate income families.

“It’s a wonderful renaissance and a wonderful renewal for the community,” says ICDC’s Diane Ragsdale.  “It’s a wonderful partnership, like I say partnerships leverage impact.”

Together the agencies screen and educate home buyers; the payoff is that at a time where national foreclosure rates have driven down the economy, the foreclosure rate for Habitat for Humanity homes in Dallas is a mere 3%.

CEO Hall explains, “People will invest their time and money in it and those families feel they have a responsibility not only to themselves and their family, but to the community that’s helped them have this opportunity.”

Habitat for Humanity has bought another bar nearby it also wants to turn into a home; ICDC has bought a liquor store nearby….it will make that into a retail store.

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