Rebuilding Together in Prairie Township

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By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

Select residents in the Prairie Township Little Farms neighborhood are getting some much-needed improvements thanks to a new partnership.

The non-profit group Rebuilding Together is partnering with Prairie Township to do home repairs to 15 to 20 properties in the neighborhood.

“This national group has been rebuilding central Ohio for 27 years,” said Tracy Hatmaker, Prairie Township administrator. “They work with communities to rebuild neighborhoods by coordinating and executing a home repairs program.”

According to Hatmaker, the group decided to focus on the Little Farms neighborhood because they saw a need among residents.

“The group focuses on improvements to seniors’ houses who have low to moderate incomes,” Hatmaker said. “After examining neighborhoods in the township, they felt Little Farms fit this criteria the most based on economic and age demographics.”

According to Hatmaker, the director of Building Together is from the Little Farm neighborhood and knows the area. He added that focusing the program on one neighborhood would have the best impact on the township.

“You want to make enough improvements to an area where it makes a difference for the whole neighborhood. You don’t want the improvements scattered around,” Hatmaker said. “You have to hit areas where you make the most difference, where it helps the most. Little Farms is a great place to start.”

The program will cost approximately $60,000 and will be funded with Prairie Township, American Electric Power and Franklin County each contributing $20,000.

“It really is a community partnership with the township and outside groups,” Hatmaker said. “Everyone in investing in this project and Rebuilding Together coordinates and executes all the repairs. Everyone is working together toward one goal.”

Among Rebuilding Together’s volunteers are skilled craftsman. These volunteers make the project even more valuable because they can ensure repairs are done correctly.

All of the home repairs Rebuilding Together will make will focus on making the participating homes safer for seniors. Some of the improvements they could make include roof repairs, HVAC, floor repairs and removing tripping hazards.

According to Hatmaker, the volunteers will work with the homeowners to determine their needs, as well as examine the house to determine what improvements are needed.

Hatmaker said he hopes this is just the beginning of a long relationship with the group.

“If this is successful, other neighborhoods in the township could be considered and it could go beyond the Rebuilding Together partnership,” said Hatmaker.

According to Hatmaker, volunteers from Rebuilding Together will be going door-to-door in Little Farms educating homeowners about the program. Residents in the Little Farm neighborhood also will receive letters in the mail educating them on the program and letting them know how to apply to be a part of the program.

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