Habitat ReStore receives $500,000 stimulus grant

Posted 9/1/09

The Park County-based affiliate, Mountain Spirit Habitat for Humanity, received a $500,000 grant to construct a ReStore near the west water tower.

“The ReStore will not only provide room for future growth of our affiliate, but also provide …

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Habitat ReStore receives $500,000 stimulus grant


Construction to begin this fallPowell soon will become home to a Habitat for Humanity ReStore that turns trash into treasures.

The Park County-based affiliate, Mountain Spirit Habitat for Humanity, received a $500,000 grant to construct a ReStore near the west water tower.

“The ReStore will not only provide room for future growth of our affiliate, but also provide an ongoing means to increase funding to support Mountain Spirit Habitat for Humanity's mission by selling donated items that cannot be used in the construction of homes,” said Jaime Schmeiser, the affiliate's assistant director.

The proposed 10,000-square-foot facility will be funded through a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The award was announced late last week, and construction likely will begin this fall after the grant agreement is signed, said Kenny Lee, the Mountain Spirit executive director. The bidding process will start soon after the agreement is signed.

“We want to get this going as soon as possible,” Lee said.

Depending on how construction proceeds through the winter, Lee said he hopes the store could open in late spring 2010.

People and businesses from around the region will be able to donate unwanted building materials in good condition to the ReStore. Those items will then be sold to the public at deeply-discounted prices, Lee said.

Reselling unwanted materials helps keep them from the landfill while also raising funding for Habitat for Humanity.

“Having the ReStore will reduce the impact on the landfill. Instead of being thrown out, good used building materials and surplus home renovation items will be recycled, resulting in a ‘green' win-win situation for our community and Habitat,” Schmeiser said.

The project also will help create jobs in the Powell area. Lee estimates that the construction phase will provide initial jobs for 30-40 skilled laborers. Once the store opens, two full-time and three part-time paid employees will be hired.

In addition to creating jobs and helping recycle building materials, the retail outlet will establish a stable financial arm for Mountain Spirit.

Lee said this will be the first time Mountain Spirit Habitat for Humanity will have a stable inflow of income beyond donations to help with its administrative costs.

A lot of the staff's time currently is focused on securing funds so the organization can build affordable housing for low-income residents. Now that Mountain Spirit will have a stable flow of income through the ReStore, it can focus more on ministry in Park County and not just fundraising.

“It certainly is a huge milestone for us to get this done,” Lee said.

Lee added that Habitat still needs the community's support to operate the ReStore and to continue helping low-income families.

“We've already received a lot of encouragement for this important project, and we are asking the community to continue to help us so we can help others,” Lee said.

The organization plans to build a home in Powell this year.

The ReStore also will expand Habitat for Humanity's presence in Powell. The building will house offices as well as space for workshops related to homeownership, house maintenance, budgeting and parenting.

Lee said he has wanted to build a ReStore for about two years, but funding wasn't available until now. Powell's ReStore will become the fourth in Wyoming, joining similar stores in Jackson, Riverton and Sheridan.

The city of Powell sponsored the grant application for Habitat for Humanity, and the land will be purchased from Target Powell Valley.

Mountain Spirit already receives donations of building supplies and household items at its Cody office. However, the current facility lacks the space for storing building materials.

“We have more donations right now than we can deal with,” Lee said.

He added that it is a good problem to have. Recent donations include doors, windows, cabinets, paint, carpeting and some household items, such as appliances and furniture. Habitat is planning a sale later this month, Lee said, but its current facility limits how much is stored or sold.

A prominent location off U.S. 14-A and a facility large enough to store donations will help attract shoppers as well as contributors from around the region. Lee mentioned that the store will be located conveniently near the new home of Powell Valley Recycling.

Until the new store opens, donations of good used building materials, surplus items, furniture and appliances can be brought to the Mountain Spirit Habitat office located at 1761 29th St. in Cody. Supporters may send contributions to Mountain Spirit Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 1226, Cody, WY 82414 or make contributions online at www.mshfh.org. For more information, call 307-527-9339.