Habitat rehabs its own space, opens work shop
Open house held to show off activity center.
Bill Horstman of Habitat for Humanity shows off the new Habitat Activity Center to Jack Evans, Miami County commissioner.
By Nancy Bowman Contributing Writer

TROY — Habitat for Humanity of Miami and Shelby counties has taken on a remodeling project of its own facilities.

The local Habitat chapter is in its fourth year as a two-county program. Its most recent effort was converting its former Restore home at the East Race Street headquarters in Troy into a Habitat Activity Center, or HAC, along with fashioning an area into a classroom space.

The activity center is in 5,000 square feet that opened up when the Restore - a home improvement outlet store selling donated or gently used merchandise - moved to a larger location off West Main Street in Troy.

Bill Horstman, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Miami and Shelby counties, said a decision was needed on what to do with the space. Among options could have been to sell the building, use it to house overflow items from the Restore or leave the space vacant as Habitat went about its home rehabilitation and construction projects.

Instead, it was decided to put the space to work for Habitat, its volunteers and the community in general by creating a work shop for Habitat needs plus projects for nonprofits. The project costing around $80,000 included donated work shop equipment along with help from students at the Upper Valley Career Center and Habitat volunteers.

“We can use that space to do what we do best,” Horstman said. As an example, he pointed to a possible request for a shed to go along with a Habitat home.

“Instead of trying to build it outdoors in the winter, we could build it here and haul it to the site,” he said.

Other projects being considered for the activity center are wheelchair ramps for properties needing them and dog houses for sale at the Restore. Specific projects for nonprofits will be undertaken by Habitat volunteers. The projects will be considered through an application process.

The remodeling at the Race Street location, which also serves as the organization’s offices, included a new kitchen and classroom where Habitat for Humanity partners can attend programs on topics such as maintaining a home.

An open house to show off the activity center was held Oct. 18 in combination with a volunteer recognition event that Horstman said was long overdue but delayed by the combination of the chapters and several remodeling and construction projects.

The volunteers recognized were: Bob Lawson and Debra Fitzpatrick for 2015; Steve Barga and Tammie Walter for 2016; Steven Kemp and Gloria Parker for 2017; and David Kinninger and Penny Adams for 2018.

For more information on Habitat for Humanity of Miami and Shelby Counties visit www.hfhmco.org or call 937-332-3763.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykbmr@aol.com