December 7, 2017

Holmes for the Holidays

Currently Holmes Rd. in Martin City looks like a “war zone.” Here’s why.

By Kathy Feist

This holiday season, Holmes Rd. in Martin City won’t be winning any fancy home decorating contest.  Some have likened the sight to a “war zone.”

On the east side, a chain link fence borders the road, protecting a skeletal concrete foundation.

On the west side, houses have been bulldozed and properties deforested. Piles of tree limbs and trunks are advertised as free firewood.

These small rental homes await demolition along 132nd and Holmes Rd. Photo by Brad Lucht

“I’m beautifying, not bulldozing,” says Alfred Paussa, who at the age of 90 is a lifelong commercial real estate investor in the area. His company Homes on Holmes purchased the properties this summer.

Paussa says he plans to clear the area and put it up for sale. The property, currently zoned for residential, will have to go through a rezoning process if purchased by a commercial developer.  Paussa says he has already heard from a high-end apartment developer.  

Paussa says he won’t allow anything “rinky dink” to go into the space, such as a massage parlor or payday loan business. But that’s all in the distant future.

For now, Paussa has months of work ahead of him, digging out tree stumps and leveling the property.

Reaction from Martin City residents has been positive. The back yard neighbors on Cherry St. were disappointed to see the trees go though. “We’ve lost our trees!” said Patsy Dietrich who has lived in the area for over seven years. She says the thick tree line buffered the noise from the road and trains.

She says otherwise the neighbors are reportedly fine with the change. “Those houses looked awful,” she says. “They were pathetic.”  

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