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Builders Circle pairs HBA, Habitat for Humanity

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A land donation from Metropolitan National Bank has paved the way for a new housing development and a partnership between Habitat for Humanity of Springfield and construction related groups such as the Home Builders Association of Greater Springfield.

Metropolitan donated a cul-de-sac with room for six houses to Habitat for Humanity, and three of those homes are to be built this year.

“Land is probably one of the hardest things to come by. It’s definitely a limited resource,” said Kristy Nelson, director of marketing and development with Habitat for Humanity.

Rick Windes, senior vice president and senior regional lender with Metropolitan National Bank, said Metropolitan bought land, located on Chestnut Street between Kansas Expressway and West Bypass, at a trustee’s sale and donated it to Habitat because it’s adjacent to Habitat’s McAl subdivision, or model community for affordable living, a 51-home development that was completed in 2006.

The new development, and the resulting partnership between Habitat, the HBA and other construction industry groups, is called Builder’s Circle. It is Habitat’s third planned development in Springfield, following McAl and Legacy Trails, which now comprises 24 homes but is expected to have 55 by 2014.

Nelson said Habitat is working on infrastructure for the development, with construction of the first two houses – led by HBA member Scott Kisling, to start in early to mid-March.

HBA CEO Matt Morrow said Builders’ Circle is a unique opportunity for his organization in that it allows members to continue HBA’s mission of providing people with homes and it lets them promote cost-effective green building. According to www.springfieldhba.com – where a blog will keep the community updated on Builders’ Circle progress – both homes will be built to achieve green certification through the National Green Building Standard.

“One of the real benefits to this for the building industry … is that it provides us an opportunity to demonstrate to the public and to people in the building trades how to build homes green, how to build them to the national green-building standard,” Morrow said.

Habitat’s mission focuses on providing safe, affordable housing for families, who must contribute 300 to 350 sweat equity hours by working on their homes and other Habitat houses to qualify for interest-free mortgages with no down payments. Nelson said a three-bedroom house from Habitat costs a family about $58,000.

“We try to raise a certain amount of cash for each home and then also try to get as many in-kind donations as possible for materials and labor to offset that (cost),” Nelson said.
James Barnett, 33, and his fiancée Sarah Maas, 25, applied for a Habitat for Humanity home almost two years ago. The couple discovered earlier this year that they have been chosen to receive a home in Builders’ Circle.

That news is welcome to the couple, who now live in a three-bedroom apartment with their six children, who range in age from 15 months to 7 years. Two girls sleep in one bedroom, and four boys share another.

“To put two sets of bunk beds in one bedroom for four boys and expect them to all share one dresser and one closet because you don’t have room for anything else in there, it’s ridiculous,” Barnett said.

Still, the news that a new, larger home is coming hasn’t fully sunk in yet.

“I can’t believe it is really coming to fruition because it had been so long since we originally applied,” Barnett added. “I didn’t think it was ever going to happen.”

Nelson said that while the Builders’ Circle is primarily working with HBA members right now, donations of labor or materials are welcome from any businesses. Habitat also is accepting applications for the remaining three homes in Builders’ Circle, and is seeking sponsors and donations for other homes as well, she said.

Habitat built one new home on an inner-city lot and completed seven home rehabilitations under Project ReHabitat. In addition to the three Builders’ Circle homes this year, Habitat plans to build seven homes in Phase II of its Legacy Trails subdivision, helping 10 local families achieve homeownership in 2011.[[In-content Ad]]

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