Habitat turns its attention to affiliation

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— After 18 months of revitalizing a crumbling old building into a home fit for a family, the Moffat County Habitat for Humanity chapter will be taking some time off from the construction business. Before moving onto its next project home, the group will concentrate on earning its affiliate status, interim group president Pat Jones said.

"We're like a teenager," she said. "We're ready, and we want to be out on our own."

Habitat for Humanity is "99 percent done" with the 745 Yampa Ave. home, the first building project in the group's history. About 35 to 40 local residents visited the home Friday and Saturday for an open house.

Weather permitting, Habitat for Humanity will complete the remaining small-ticket items for completing the home - including dirt work, sidewalk installation and construction of stairs on the front and back porch - this week and be ready to turn the home over to its residents, the Burketts, of Craig, on Friday.

"We're planning on the 28th," Jones said. "We're thinking we should have it all done by then."

And once possession of the home is handed to the Burketts, the local Habitat for Humanity chapter will be done with building projects.

At least for this year.

Jones said the organization will soon turn its full attention to finishing paperwork and training to earn its own affiliate status. The Moffat County Habitat chapter technically operates under Routt County's affiliation.

"We're not thinking about the next project until we get our affiliation," she said. "That's our priority right now."

Most likely, Habitat will not begin a new building project until 2008. When the organization is ready to begin a new project, it will search for cheap property in or around Craig city limits, Jones said.

Jones said most visitors to the Friday and Saturday open house were impressed with how Habitat for Humanity was able to transform a blighted piece of property into a new home.

"Most people were just amazed at the change of what we started with and that it's a real home now," she said.

Seeing the home nearly finished is rewarding to Habitat for Humanity members, Jones said.

"We knew that (this day) would get here" she said. "Some days, you just get tired of plodding along and plodding along, but we knew eventually this would come, and we'd be finished."

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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