Old building supplies can be very useful
GYPSUM – It’s a never-ending cycle in this growing, affluent valley. Homes are constantly being built, then remodeled, and unwanted materials or furnishings are taken to the county landfill. Then, it starts over – new houses, new remodels and new trash for the landfill.Yet, on the flip side of this scenario, while the landfill fills up with items that are often still useable, some homeowners can’t quite afford the brand new window or appliance they need.Beginning April 1, there will be a retail outlet in Gypsum that will help mesh these two scenarios. The Habitat Home Supply Outlet, operated by Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties, will create both a place to unload unwanted items and buy them at discounts as high as 50 percent to 80 percent.The money from all this recycling goes to Habitat for Humanity and its home-building program. It’s not only a solution where the entire community benefits, it’s an idea whose time has come, says Tom Healy, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake County.”The store is going to be a critical part of what we are doing,” Healy says. “There are outlet stores around the county in the Habitat organization. If done right, they can contribute a major amount of money.”This is not the first time Habitat for Humanity has tried to recycle building materials by offering donated items for sale, Healy says. “We’ve just never had the chutzpah to do more than a few garage sales,” he says. “When you think about it, you empty out a few homes in part of this valley, and you would need a huge warehouse.”
Finding a homeWhat took the supply outlet store idea from a distant wish to reality was an enthusiastic local homeowner named Bonnie Vogt, the new director of the Habitat Home Supply Outlet. A five-year valley resident, Vogt said she was eager to learn more about Eagle County and become more in community affairs. On a hike a friend, Vogt learned about Habitat’s work and she soon volunteered, she says. When she learned about what other Habitat supply stores were accomplishing elsewhere in the country, her enthusiasm couldn’t be held back, Vogt says. She not only took on the large project, she immediately began scoping locations, she says. Habitat asked the Eagle County Board of Commissioners for financial help. The board gave the organization $30,000 against the $77,000 expected to be provided by Jim Guida for his Heritage Park housing development. The money is cash-in-lieu of land for the county’s low-income housing fund.Habitat is using the $30,000 for seed money to start the store. Habitat has signed a lease with the owner of an 8,000-square-foot warehouse in Gypsum that’s right off the I-70 interchange. By April 1, the store, at 500 Trail Gulch Road, should be filled with cabinets, electrical lighting fixtures, plumbing items, cabinets, toilets, windows and doors, appliances, furniture – and, yes, even the kitchen sink – at 50 percent or more off their new value, Healy says.
Landfill problemsThe minor refurbishment needed to transform the warehouse into a store is almost complete.D Jensen Electric of Gypsum worked on the wiring for the store for free. AR Builders of Gypsum is guiding Habitat through renovations, and helping remodel the bathroom to meet federal handicap requirements. Gypsum Drywall donated the drywall for the remodel. On Martin Luther King Day, 19 students from Vail Mountain School spent the day painting the warehouse.Kris Sable of the Vilar Center donated a cargo van to the store so Vogt and helpers can pick up smaller items. Vogt is still looking for shelving to display items in the store, and a reliable, used truck to pick up larger donated items, she says. And, of course, the project is in need of volunteers – to pick up donations, and to man the store once it opens in April, she says. “There are no paid helpers with Habitat stores,” says Vogt, who owns at home in Beaver Creek homeowner and is a member of Beaver Creek’s Design Review Board. She is therefore familiar with some of the unwanted by-products of construction, she says.
“I understand what goes in the landfill and we need to change that,” says Vogt, who also is on the county’s open space commission. “We have opportunities here, with these wonderful gated communities to be very green.”We are a very wealthy community,” she adds. “We should use those resources.” Building designsCurrently, Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake County has seven homes planned at the Bluff site in Eagle, and plans to break ground on two of them this year. Additionally, a duplex is planned in Leadville, and a home in Gypsum that’s being built on a accelerated schedule will soon be completed.Vail, Colorado