Habitat seeking new tools

Older equipment can sometimes lead to accidents

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— Habitat for Humanity is less than a month away from breaking ground on its first home in Routt County, but it will be difficult to do without any tools.

"Habitat's insurance requires that we have new tools to reduce the liability and safety issues," said Carrie Burggraf, who sits on Habitat's board of directors.

"They've had incidents internationally where people bring tools to the site and they're too old and they have accidents."

Burggraf said they're actually looking for donations for hand tools that will be used by volunteer workers.

Professionals hired by habitat will be the only ones using power tools, and they bring their own.

"That's usually a good plan to make sure everybody is safe," Burggraf said.

The new hand tools will be used on every Habitat house that will be built in Routt County.

If Habitat is able to get a lot of the hand tools and other items donated, that would save the organization precious cash that it needs for other things.

Board President Larry Oman said as the summer progresses, the project will also need more skilled and unskilled workers.

"We'll have skilled crew leaders on site each day, but then they will be able to give directions and work to those volunteers who might not be so skilled," Oman said.

Insurance restrictions also keep children away from the site. Only those 14 and older can actually help with construction work.

However, Burggraf said children are used off-site for a lot of important jobs.

"The kids can make gifts, like birdhouses, and write thank-you notes. And we have kids who do fund-raisers," Burggraf said.

However, after construction, children can help with clean-up and landscaping.

The excavation is expected to begin May 15 and like most Habitat homes, this one in Pioneer Village on the west side of town is expected to go up in 14 weeks.

The recipients, Neil and Beverly Marchman and their four children, should be in the 1,100-square-foot home by early fall. Neil is a music teacher at Strawberry Park Elementary School and Beverly works for the Steamboat Springs Ski and Resort Corp.

Like all Habitat families, the Marchmans will be required to put in sweat equity.

The home is sold to the family at cost or less than cost with a no-interest loan.

The Marchmans' home will have three bedrooms and 1.75 baths.

"Habitat only allows two kids per room, and they have to be the same sex," Burggraf said.

"They're modest homes, but it allows us to build more homes."

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