The message from neighbors of a proposed halfway house was loud and clear: Not in our backyard.
The owner of the 608 Bell Ave. home that was to be leased to the Jeremiah House has a message of her own: You win.
Homeowner Ruth Parker said Friday she plans to sell the house that was to become an in-between home for men with drug and alcohol felony convictions.
"We've had many objections so I decided to put the house on the market," Parker said.
Parker was considering donating the house to a group attempting to establish a faith-based rehabilitation center for recently-released men in need of assistance to return to society as productive members.
Neighbors who started a petition earlier this week to protest the Jeremiah House said they're pleased Parker heard their concerns and took them to heart. Their concerns spanned from safety to property values, the ability to sell their homes and supervision at the home.
Plans for the home came as a surprise to neighbors this spring when a sign appeared in the yard. They originally thought the home was for young, single or unwed mothers needing assistance. When they found out it would house men with felony convictions, they appealed to Perkins Township trustees for intervention and, later, started a petition.
"Right now we're just hoping that whomever buys it wants to take care of it and will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood," said nearby neighbor Katrina Scroggy.
She said the news was positive, but still has some trepidation because the neighbors don't know to whom Parker is selling the house.
"I just really hope a loving family sees some promise in the home and puts some tender love and care into the home and becomes a part of the neighborhood," she said. "I guess we're really relieved, but slightly a little nervous."
The Rev. Doris Troup, who was assisting a group in establishing the home, said she had no comment about the matter.
State zoning laws would have allowed the program to occupy the property zoned for single family residential purposes.
As of Friday, a "for sale" sign had not yet been posted in the yard at 608 Bell Ave.