Habitat readies for a fast and furious fall

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By Stephen Knapp

September promises to be a memorable month for two deserving Evergreen families, and, over at Blue Spruce Habitat for Humanity, excitement is building.

“We’re going to build two homes in nine days,” says Blue Spruce development director Pandora Reagan. “Nationally, the Home Builders Blitz is sort of a Habitat tradition, but this is our first one.”

Granted, building houses is nothing new for Blue Spruce Habitat, which has made home ownership possible for 21 mountain-area families since its founding in 1991 and expects to inaugurate three more addresses by the end of the year. But turning a stark concrete foundation into a comfortable duplex in less than 10 percent of the usual construction time requires a bit more moxie and an extra measure of expertise.

“What makes this different is, all the work is being donated by local contractors,” Reagan explains. “Local builders are natural partners for us because they already have the businesses, the suppliers and the subcontractors. This was a way for us to reach out to them and start that relationship, and they’ve really come through.

“We have five local builders donating labor and supplies, and Perry Timon, who owns Timon Development, has really been the driving force behind this project.”

Even now, crews are pouring the 2,500-square-foot foundation on a small, wooded lot at the western tip of South End Road high above downtown Kittredge. After a brief groundbreaking ceremony at 7 a.m. Sept. 3, the blitz is on.

“The first day should be the best to watch, because that’s when they do all the framing. You can see the whole thing kind of take shape in front of your eyes,” Reagan said.

If most of the heavy lifting will be done by professionals, there are still plenty of ways that the less-handy can pitch in. Busy construction crews under an especially tight deadline have to eat, after all.

“Different groups are providing lunch on different days during the week, and we’d love it if people would volunteer to bring a meal or just donate snacks and water,” Reagan said.

And anybody who knows which end of the hammer strikes the nail is always welcome to build some new friendships and a little good karma at Habitat’s ongoing project house off Buffalo Park Road.

“We’re always looking for volunteers to help out,” Reagan says. “Especially on weekdays.”

If all goes well, and the smart money says it will, Kittredge will welcome its two newest homeowners at a formal key-passing ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 14. It’s sure to be a joyous occasion, and to herald many more to come.

“Eventually we’ll build seven duplexes on South End Road – 14 homes altogether,” Reagan says. “It’s our first ‘development,’ as it were.”

Still, Habitat for Humanity needs more than generously donated materials and labor to continue its mission. It needs cash-money for — among other things — buying land, installing infrastructure and providing low-interest, 20-year mortgages to worthy hopeful homeowners. Luckily, during the next several weeks, even folks who don’t know a crescent wrench from a workbench will have lots of opportunities to have a swell time supporting the cause without breaking a sweat or getting sawdust on their patent-leathers.

For the Bohemian set, Habitat’s month-long series of stylish Genesee Entertains soirees kicks off on Sept. 6 with the Arty Party, featuring cocktails and culture at the lovely home of Lon and Sandi Norris, followed on Sept. 13 by Raise the Roof, an evening of ultra-modern merrymaking at Colorado’s most notable habitat, the convention-busting Sculptured/Spaceship/Clamshell House. On the 18th, guests at the Mount Vernon Country Club will enjoy comparing poker faces and a few rounds of Texas Hold ‘Em at Casino Night in the Canyon, and those preferring to gamble on the weather can lay their stake on the double-yellow line during the Giro D Genesee cycling rally.

Since kids arguably benefit most from Blue Spruce’s endeavors, it’s entirely fitting that they get a chance to participate. On Sept. 19, the Kids Pump it Up Party will make the most of a Jeffco schools in-service day with plenty of snacks and inflatable fun. Finally, imagine the most fun you can have in the woods, and then get over to Hard Hats and High Heels. Held under the stars, Hard Hats will do its best to meet the stars halfway.

“We’re calling it ‘The Observatory,’ but it’s really just this big, beautiful meadow way up on the mountain above Highland Haven,” says Reagan. “It has a fantastic view, and there’ll be lots of food and live music, and maybe even dancing. I’m really excited about it.”

Between betting, biking and barbecue, September’s fund-raising schedule should keep the good folks at Blue Spruce Habitat running ragged. Not that they mind — fun is fun, after all. And if they hit their tentative goal of $50,000 for the month, so much the better.

“The security and stability of owning a home changes lives, and that’s why we do this,” Reagan says. “$50,000 would cover about half the cost of our next Habitat home.”

To learn more about Blue Spruce Habitat for Humanity, call 303-674-1127 or visit www.bluesprucehabitat.org.