shed set up in W.Va. town is ‘like a tool lending library’ | West Virginia News

By EVAN BEVINS, News and Sentinel

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — The City of Parkersburg and Community Resources unveiled a community tool shed March 31 in an effort to provide residents with equipment to improve their property.

“Think of it like 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.

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

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 reduced,” 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 are saving households money that they would have spent on these items,” she said in the statement.

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 they’re fun to work with,” said Melissa Ogden, Operations Manager 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, Recovery Point program director. “It’s good for them to be appreciated, to help people.”

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