The city of New Carlisle, with the help from the Economic Development Department of Clark County, submitted a Community Development Block Grant for funds to demolish the old Madison school, said city manager Randy Bridge.
The Board of Clark County Commissioners allocated about $171,000 of the $268,000 grant to the demolition. The city then sold four plots of the land to the Clark County Land Bank for $1, Bridge said, but New Carlisle still retains ownership of the rest of the property.
Kermit Rowe, Habitat’s faith and community relations associate, said the land bank donated both lots and helped arrange $30,000 in grants to help with the cost of each home. He said the land bank is planning to build two other separate homes on the other two plots.
“If we get a lot and it’s ready to go, that’s less cost on Habitat,” he said. “Building two homes side-by-side is not something we normally do, but it does make sense in that you got volunteers there already, keep all equipment there ... A lot of advantages in that.”
One house will be for single-mother Dionka Crafter and her four children, Di’Ovian, 14, Di’Nahya, 12, Antonio, 5, and Aniesia, 4.
Crafter, who has been a nurse’s aide for 22 years, and her family live in Springfield. She said the main reason for applying to get a house is for her children.
“My top, number one most important reason for wanting to get the house is stability for my children,” she said. “I’m tired of moving from place to place ... I’ve been through a lot in my life.”
In the program, Crafter has surpassed her “sweat equity” with more than 400 hours and has taken some classes. Those in the program must complete 275 “sweat equity” hours of volunteer time on a house, in the store or through education classes, in which 40 hours of homeowner training is needed.
“I’ve worked really hard to get to this place,” she said. “I feel grateful and I’m blessed. God has blessed me and my children tremendously.”
The other home, through the Veteran Build initiative, is for the Pringle family of four that includes husband and wife Len and Alicia and their two children Benjamin and Gabby. Len served in the U.S. Navy on the U.S.S. Independence, where he was exposed to Agent Orange that caused health problems.
These will be the first Habitat homes to be built in New Carlisle and in Clark County outside of Springfield.
Rowe said when Habitat for Humanity became a part of the Greater Dayton group, officials wanted to make it a Clark County-wide effort.
“Habitat tries to change neighborhoods as well as families. We try to go into neighborhoods that need building up, and do like a block of cluster builds for one street. The thing of several homeowner on that one street, there’s more investment, improvement of the neighborhood,” he said.
They plan to break ground on the houses soon, but a date has not yet been chosen.
Work has not yet started as they are still fundraising for the two homes, and volunteer crews are finishing other home builds, said Tim McMurdo, marketing director for Habitat for Humanity. They are hoping to have them done by Christmas for the families, or at the very least have all the work done outside so crews can work inside during the winter, Rowe said.
Houses are normally built in five to six months, but they can take longer depending on volunteer times and supply chains.
The organization, which builds affordable houses and helps families purchase them, serves Montgomery, Greene and Clark counties through volunteer work funded by donations and grants. They also use recycled materials such as paint and donated items through its ReStore, which takes donations and sells inexpensive home improvement items, that opened last year at 2990 Derr Road.
They build about eight to 10 houses a year in the tri-county area, and have built about 65 homes over the course of its 33-year history. In Clark County, they have already dedicated two homes this year and have three homes in progress.
One home was dedicated on South Bell Street in the winter and the other was dedicated to Katara Wood and her four children on West Perrin Avenue on June 2.
One that’s in the process is a “rehab” home in south Springfield where the homeowner, who got the house through Habitat, doesn’t want it anymore and gives it back to the organization for them to rehab it in a like-new condition and give it to a new family.
Rowe said Habitat believes everyone deserves a good place to live.
“It’s never been a better time for Habitat and our community,” he said. “Affordable housing is one of the major problems for every community, and now we are seeing communities like Springfield and New Carlisle who are looking for non-traditional ways to provide that affordable housing and helping to funnel dollars into that.”
(NOTE: This story has been updated from its original version to explain the city of New Carlisle’s role in the demolition.)