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"Deconstructed" Houses to Aid Columbus Habitat for Humanity

The City of Columbus has donated eleven houses to the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. The homes lie in the way of a road widening project and will be demolished after the house-building organization salvages useable items from the structures.

"We're signing the agreement between the City of Columbus and the Greater Columbus Habitat for Humanities chapter to allow them to come in and take any of the useable parts that they have here in this home," says the city's Henry Guzman.

Public Service Director Henry Guzman co-signed the agreement today with Habitat's executive director E.J. Thomas. Guzman says the city purchased the eleven houses for $3.7 million, part of a $37 million project to widen a 3-mile stretch of Hard Road between Sawmill and 315. The formalities over, volunteers and Habitat employees began pulling up carpet from the family room of one of the homes.

"The beautiful knotty pine. That will all go, that will all come off. The mantel will be gone. The switch plates. Electrical outlets, they will all be cut and taken out," says Jim Eder.

Jim Eder is one those who will remove the windows, doors and paneling. They'll be taken to Habitat's Build It Again Center on Westerville Road. E.J. Thomas is executive director of the Greater Columbus Habitat affiliate.

"Crown molding, countertops, appliances, you can see the cabinets that are here from other locations. These all sell pretty quickly. There's a lot of usable construction equipment and supplies in a home when it's time to tear it down," says Thomas.

And it's a substantial amount of material that won't go into a landfill. In the past, Public Service Director Guzman says the City would have simply bulldozed the houses and hauled away the debris. Habitat executive director Thomas.

"So rather than have those all go into a landfill someplace, how great it is that we've had the houses donated for the purposes of taking them apart piece by piece and trying to sell them."

The Build It Again Center which sells donated building materials from various sources had a half million dollars in sales last year. The money goes toward Habitat's operating expenses. Habitat for Humanity has built 170 homes in Columbus for needy families; 17 this year. Sam Hendren, WOSU News