Habitat to build 2 homes in Blacksburg’s Nellie’s Cave neighborhood
Habitat for Humanity of the New River Valley is teaming up with the Virginia Tech Habitat for Humanity chapter for the upcoming projects.
Construction on the homes is scheduled to begin Nov. 3 with completion in early 2013. Groundbreaking on the two plots of land, owned by the local chapter, will mark the first time the organization has built houses in the NRV since 2007.
The chapter’s new executive director, David Pynn, said the town is providing Community Development Block Grant funding and that the New River Valley HOME Consortium is providing HOME funds to assist in building the homes. Additionally, private donations from both corporate and individual donors are being used.
Pynn said one home will be built using structural insulated panels by Taylor Hollow Construction in Radford, while the other home will be a traditional stick-built home. Both homes will be energy-efficient, and Pynn said he hopes they will qualify for an ENERGY STAR certification.
Habitat has built 32 homes around the NRV since 1987, Pynn said. For Pynn and the organization’s board of directors, the projects mark a fresh start for Habitat.
“We’re a good organization that does good things,” Pynn said. “We’re just on the edge of turning it around.”
The local chapter, after losing its executive director and seeing a significant drop in donations, had halted construction of houses.
But board member Don Mullins said the organization has come a long way over the past three years.
The board hired Pynn in July to serve as the organization’s executive director, the first since Terri Fitzwater-Palmore resigned in April 2009.
“I’m really delighted to have [Pynn], and he’s going to make a great director,” Mullins said. “He has a lot of experience and a great personality, which is something you need when doing this type of work.”
In the past, Pynn has held several positions in finance. Pynn said he was interested in volunteering for the organization when he realized his experience and skill set were a match for the position.
Mullins said Pynn will serve as the day-to-day decisionmaker and that both his ability and financial savvy will help lead the organization into the future.
But before the organization’s recent success and the hiring of Pynn, the board faced a daunting task.
The board of directors spent the past year and a half identifying and addressing problems within the organization, Pynn said.
“That group of people really came together and pulled this off,” Pynn said. “There was also a lot of support from several corporate sponsors and state organizations.”
Additionally, the Habitat ReStore in Pulaski contributed to the recent financial success, but Pynn said the organization is looking to relocate the store to Blacksburg or Christiansburg.
“We’re looking to relocate the store to a more central location,” Pynn said. “There’s also a larger population base, and that would help with both donations and sales.”
With those contributing factors, Pynn said the organization’s financial situation is looking up.
He hopes the development of the two properties in Nellie’s Cave will help generate public interest, which will help bring excitement and momentum to fuel future projects throughout the New River Valley.
Mullins believes the community and Habitat can team up to accomplish big things and hopes that fuel can come in the form of manpower from Virginia Tech, Radford University and local community colleges.
The region, Mullins said, offers plenty of talent and manpower to make a difference. The movement is just a matter of getting everyone behind it, he added.
“We’re focused on where we’re going and are finished with the past.”
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