Mayor, attorney general tour house saved with grant

A four-bedroom house on Cottage Street in New Bedford looks brand new, and it has had a $215,000 makeover.

Mayor Jon Mitchell and state Attorney General Martha Coakley were suitably impressed during a tour Wednesday morning.

"Martha, we love what you've done with the place," Mitchell quipped during a news conference.

It was an abandoned house for four years, an eyesore, and a magnet for trouble in the West End neighborhood.

The house was rescued from dilapidation by a program that uses money the state won from banks after the foreclosure crisis. That money is now helping to restore blighted neighborhoods.

"When we can bring neighborhoods back and bring people to care about their homes, that's one of our best crime fighting tools, actually," Coakley said.

The house is one of 48 properties in the city that have been fixed up under programs administered by the state.

It is a prime candidate for that kind of rehab because it's on a corner lot, and it's the kind of program that has spinoffs even on properties that haven't been abandoned and are not danger of foreclosure.

"The threat of receivership has gotten a lot of landlords in the city to sit up straight and to reinvest in their properties. None of these landlords, even the most recalcitrant, want their properties taken away from them by the state," Mitchell said.

The Cottage Street home is on the market for just under $168,000, but not to speculators. Income-eligible first-time home buyers only need apply.