Jim Negron's daughter, Heidi, wanted to move to German Village and he wanted to help.

Jim Negron's daughter, Heidi, wanted to move to German Village and he wanted to help.

Having spent his professional life in the construction trade, Negron saw something at 275 E. Whittier St. others might not have.

Although in rough shape, the shell of the house was structurally sound, he said.

Another way of putting it: "I'm in the business. I knew the bones were good," said Negron, executive vice president of Corna Kokosing Construction Co.

So he bought the 1,770-square-foot house, built around 1900, for $225,000 last September.

"We wanted to bring this house back to its original condition," Negron said.

And, judging by the German Village Commission, he did just that.

The architectural-review board recently presented its Caretakers of a Legacy awards.

Negron received the Preservation Award, given to a property owner "in recognition of an outstanding example of restoration, preservation or maintenance of a property or architectural element in German Village."

The work was immense, involving refurbishing the original fireplace, removing walls, opening up the front porch and tearing up five levels of floor to get to the original hardwood floors, which were completely restored.

The ceiling in the kitchen was recreated in such a way that it matched the original in the adjacent living room.

"If you look at what we've done, you can't tell what's old or what's new," said Negron, who declined to disclose the cost of the renovations.

Chelsea Scott and Harrison Unverferth received the Commissioners Award for their work on 525 City Park Ave. and Bob and Peggy Walter were bestowed the Chairman's Award for their restoration of the former St. Mary Catholic School site, most recently an office building, at 673 Mohawk St. Eliot Hilman was given a certificate of merit for his restoration of a leaded glass window sign at 649 Mohawk St.

"Caretakers of a Legacy awards are the public expression of the community's appreciation for a significant contribution to the built environment of German Village," said Jay Panzer, chairman of the commission.

"But they're not just a 'thank you,' they also serve as a guidepost for those who are planning their own projects," he said.

"Perhaps most important in this regard is that they highlight the great diversity among the neighborhood's greatest successes."

The President's Award, a separate honor given by the German Village Society, was given to Cheryl Hacker, who served on the German Village Commission for almost a decade.