If you’ve traveled through Walltown lately, you might have noticed that things are looking a bit spiffier than usual. That’s because Walltown residents have a new resource for home improvement: the Walltown Neighborhood Tool Shed.
The shed, which opened March 26, is a place where Walltown residents can, for a fee of $30 for six months, borrow everything from lawn mowers to ladders, wheel barrows to water hoses — all sorts of tools to help residents keep up their yards and homes.
The shed project is supported by Self-Help, which has partnered with Duke University to promote housing development in Walltown since 1996. Self-Help had so much success in the neighborhood that they priced themselves out of the market. The organization hasn’t been able to afford to buy lots there for the past two years but wanted to find a way to stay involved in the neighborhood. The tool shed project fit the bill.
“People may not keep up their homes without sufficient resources. Giving homeowners access to a weed eater, a lawn mower, a ladder to clean out their gutters can make a big impact on the neighborhood and property values,” explains LaVett Saddler, a former Self-Help Project Manager who came up with the idea of creating a tool shed in Walltown.
Although the shed is sponsored by Self-Help, it is the result of the combined hard work and generosity of folks from all walks of life.
To begin with, Northside Baptist Church provided space: Walltown residents will find the shed sitting cheerfully on the church premises at 1239 Berkeley Street.
Then Geoffrey Barton, an architecture student at N.C. State University at the time, volunteered to design the building.
Next, the Lowe’s home improvement store on Roxboro provided the project with 50 percent off equipment and materials. A friend of Barton’s had some roofing materials left over from another project, so about two-thirds of the roof was donated.
With location, design and materials in place, all that remained was to build the shed.
“So many volunteers pitched in,” Barton said. “Carl Rogers came to put up the floor and roof and saw how much fun it was to build, and kept coming back.”
The two little boys who lived next door, Wayne and Quentin, approached Barton on the first day as he was unloading materials. Barton showed them the design and they asked if they could help.
“They just pitched in,” Barton said. “I was really cautious about using them at first, but they were great helpers. When we had a job to be done, they worked harder than anyone else. They really made it a community-focused project.”
The hard work has paid off. The Walltown Neighborhood Tool Shed will be open every Friday 4-7PM, and Saturdays 8-11AM and 4-7PM until the beginning of September, when it will close for the winter. It will be staffed by community volunteer Laverne Robinson.
Residents may sign up for a six-month membership at the Self-Help office (301 W. Main Street) or at Northside Baptist Church. For more information about the project, contact Dan Levine of Self-Help at (919) 956-4462.