Kassie Greep, a Crown Point High School freshman, scrapes paint off a house on Harrison Street before the Crown Point Rotary team paints the house as part of the Rebuilding Together 2016 one-day project.
Rebuilding Together of South Lake County was in Lowell on Sept. 17. This group is made up of public minded individuals, business, unions and corporations to be able to reach out and help low income people, those who are physically challenged, and vets who are homeowners to get necessary repair or maintenance work done on their houses to maintain the quality of life, and security for all the household members. The applicants have to furnish information documenting the total household income. This group was at one time part of the well known National group called Christmas in September.
This organization of energy-filled people serves just four communities, one each year. This year was Lowell's turn. In future years it will be Merrillville, Cedar Lake, Crown Point and then back to Lowell.
Ten houses were selected in Lowell this year. There was a great deal of difference in what was needed being done at each home. Cost estimates ranged from just $500 in one place to over $2,000 in another.
A magnificent old house on Burnham in Lowell's old town area had a lot of work done. The oldest record the owners have was found on wallpaper on the second floor they had been removing at one time. It was from the 1920s, but Jacquelyn Mansfield said, "That second floor may have been an addition. We just don't know."
The house was sponsored by Rogers Roofing, the Town of Lowell and Tree Care & Removal of Lowell. The house captain was Mitch Barloga, who has been active with this group for years. This house had a huge tree removed opening up sunshine to the windows on the south side of the home. That tree's roots were becoming a danger to the house itself. The roof was being removed and replaced and on came Rogers Roofing and their employees. Jon Rios who is a board member for Rebuilding Together and the representative of Rogers Roofing was up on the roof ripping off old shingles. Beth and John Doppler from Doppler Construction were there as were their employees. Workers from Carpenters Union Local 1005 come out in force every year. Carpenter Jordan Morantz was volunteering for his first time with this group here part of many more to come.
Jon Rios removes shingles from a house on Burnham Street prior to roofing it as Rebuilding Together worked on homes in the Lowell area in September.
(Kitty Conley / Crown Point Star)
"I had been volunteering in Portage but this is closer to home," he said. "I live in Cedar Lake. I'll keep coming back for this one."
Darric Szymanski was the leader of Local 1005 workers. He said, "This has been my sixth year. This was my first year in charge. I might as well say I will be doing this annually."
Also sponsoring the house next door were Local 1005 and AHEPA. AHEPA is an acronym for American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association. They were building a little exterior porch or landing at the back entrance to the home to improve access making it easier for the resident to get in and out with her service dog.
Crown Point Rotary was sponsoring a house along with the Crown Point Community Foundation on Harrison Street where Corey Liss from Liss Carstar was House Captain and directing the work being done on the Rotary's house. Rotary President Katherine Chariton and her husband Fred were working right along with volunteer Kassie Greep a Freshman at Crown Point High School and a member of the women's Lacrosse Team scraping the old loose paint off the siding prior to painting to beginning. Jessica and Drew Halier were there. She said, "This is our date day. ... This is fun." Drew was out back on a ladder re-securing the siding to the house and caulking as he moved along.
All in all it was a great day that started out a little wet with rain in the early morning that didn't slow down the work getting done, with sponsors bringing their volunteers out in force. The rest of the sponsors were: 1st United Methodist Church of Crown Point with The Legacy Foundation; Crown Point Lions & Centier Bank; Superior Petroleum & Crown Point High School Key Club; Doppler Construction & 1st Christian Reformed Church; Suncrest Church & Tri-Creek Lumber; Cross Point Church & IBEW 697 & Transite HVAC; and NIPSCO. All in all President Tim Brown and General Supervisor John Doppler always have great volunteers, and sponsors. However, they are always looking for more help each year. If you are interested call Brown at the Lake County Government Building during business hours at 219-765-5760, or go to www.rebuildingtogethersouthlake.com
(Kitty Conley / Crown Point Star)
Kitty ConleyPost-Tribune