Family wants to turn Church Hill house into "home for the community"

Family wants to turn Church Hill house into "home for the community"

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Richmond family is gearing up to move into a new home, but they say the house isn't just for them. They want to open it up to their neighbors as well.

It started as a dream. One Paul and Becca Granger thought was well out of reach.

"This is a house that we passed many times going on family walks, and every time we've seen it we always thought this would be a really great space," Granger said.

The Grangers have lived in Church Hill for almost a decade, and always thought home on the corner of North 20th Street had potential.

It was Becca who finally made the first move, suggesting the couple buy the house, not just for them, but for their community.

"The size of the yard, especially in the front. We really love the idea of doing a lot of front port, front yard hanging out, because it's visible to the community. It's a visible communicator that says we're here, you're invited to come," she said.

After several months of waiting, the price was finally right, and the house was theirs.

Both Paul and Becca work as educators, and say kids in Church Hill, especially those who live across the street in Mosby court, could use their home as a place to come after school. They also see the house becoming a space for neighbors to host cookouts, birthday's and community meetings.

"This idea of being able to share our home with the community really excites us. So it's not just us living in this house, but kids are coming in learning to read, getting homework done, building relationships," said Granger.

The home, built in 1920, needs some major repairs. The Grangers put aside enough money for renovations, but issues like high lead levels in the yard came as a surprise.

"There are rooms like this one that don't have outlets. There's plumbing, some of it looks like it's recalled plumbing. There's lead in the soil. There's probably lead paint in the house. There's rotted roof beams. So there's some things that before we can bring kids in here would need to get done," Granger said.

The Grangers haven't given up hope. They say the support from their neighbors has been tremendous. People have donated furniture, even an entire kitchen.

They are optimistic with help they can open their home and their hearts by the summer.

"We know that this is an amazing place.  A lot of people when they watch the news, when they think of Church Hill, when they think of Mosby which is right there, they think of shootings, they think of drugs, but that's not what this community is," said Granger.

"This is a community of amazing neighbors and amazing people, and amazing kids, and amazing parents that are just living here and living life."

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