Grass Roots: Parkersburg and Community Resources set up loaner tool shed | News, Sports, Jobs

Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce reviewed equipment stored in the community tool shed established by the city and community resources on Thursday. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

PARKERSBURG — The City of Parkersburg and Community Resources unveiled a community tool shed on Thursday in an effort to provide residents with equipment to improve their property.

“Think of it as a tool lending library,” said Kayla Morris, director of the Community Services Block Grant Program for Community Resources.

The 14-by-30-foot shed is located at the West Virginia Department of Agriculture’s Little Kanawha Resource Conservation and Development site in the 2300 block of Gihon Road. It’s stocked with mowers, leaf blowers, trimmers, hedge trimmers, hand tools, a chainsaw, pressure washer and more, according to a city release.

These facilities have been operating for at least 10 years, primarily on the West Coast, Parkersburg Development Manager Ryan Barber said in the release.

“To our knowledge, this is the first and only such tool shed in the state of West Virginia,” he said.

Representatives from the City of Parkersburg, Community Resources and Recovery Point Parkersburg posed for a photo Thursday in front of the new Community Tool Shed on Gihon Road in South Parkersburg. The check symbolizes the CDBG funding allocated by the city for the project. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

The city allocated $30,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds for the project several years ago. Mayor Tom Joyce said there was a delay in its commissioning as the city struggled to identify a partner and deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The goal is to encourage residents to maintain their properties and neighborhoods, including helping them fix code violations, providing items with which to get the job done.

“Not having access to tools and equipment is no longer a barrier, or the barrier has been narrowed”, Joyce said, noting that the tools could also be used by groups doing neighborhood cleanups.

Morris said some people may not need tools like a chainsaw or leaf blower on a regular basis.

“We allow households to save money that they would have spent on these items”, she said in the statement.

Hedge trimmers are among the equipment people can borrow from the community tool shed established by the City of Parkersburg and Community Resources. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

The program also gives the city’s Code Enforcement Division a way to work with residents and provide recommendations on steps they can take to improve conditions, rather than issuing citations, according to the press release.

Parkersburg residents and nonprofit organizations can join the Community Tool Shed for an annual fee, which may vary based on income and other factors. Items can be borrowed for three days and, in some cases, up to seven days.

People can contact Community Resources at 304-485-5525 to get a membership or email [email protected] A website for the Tool Shed is being created, Morris said.

The hangar will officially open on April 11 and is expected to operate until November 30 each year.

The tools for the shed were assembled by clients of Recovery Point Parkersburg, a non-medical residential addiction treatment facility. They also landscaped the site and installed the access ramp to the shed.

“They do an amazing job. And it’s fun to work with them.” said Melissa Ogden, director of operations for community resources.

This is one of many projects Recovery Point has helped the agency with.

“It helps our residents get into the community and do something positive,” said Robert Diddle, director of the Recovery Point program. “It’s good for them to be appreciated, to help people.”

Evan Bevins can be reached at [email protected]

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