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Sweet Magnolia Village ~ Let's Renovate This House! -serving ex convicts & drug recovery veterans-

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THE STORY:

In the next few months, more than 50 local community people with construction materials, hammers, nails, tool belts, buckets of paint and a vision for learning will descended on the renovation home project in central Ohio, "Sweet Magnolia's Village to begin renovating and creating a home in community for life skill training programs &, personal empowerment for ex offenders and veterans both male & female. This home has been a community safe haven of support for many in the past 60 years with the passing of the homeowner, her family is committed to continue the legacy of  Magnolia  through community service to the below poverty line, low income female & male ex-offenders and veterans in local community.

The renovation  underway is converting a late-18th-century house into a near-zero energy building – but that’s not really what makes the project noteworthy. The house, an approximately 1600-square-foot structure in the neighborhood, an area dealing with the aftermath of the city’s industrial collapse. “The unemployment rate, high school drop outs rate & convicted felons  has been tearing away at the fabric of the community for many years,” says Deborah Matthews, executive director of Stand In Truth, a nonprofit partnering organization focused on neighborhood revitalization.

 

In the process of rehabilitating Sweet Magnolia Village is introducing the first sustainable structure to the neighborhood and it’s using the projects to train young people in green construction techniques. The building that is slowly becoming the Net-Zero House Once finished it will feature sustainable materials, a geothermal heating system, photovoltaic panels, and, of course, an architect’s expertise. “Early on we knew we wanted to elevate the place of green design in Newark Ohio and immediate areas, so we looked for people who had competence in green design,” says Deborah. “Darrell DeTiene artictural firm based in the San Francisco bay area was the obvious choice. The bay area green development represents the leadership in green building  zero foot print and sustainable living. Darrell had a commitment to community development, and that was important because we weren’t looking for just a project-by-project deal.”

Regarding the role architects play in neighborhood revitalization efforts, Darrell says they can help set clear goals for the process and ensure that everyone in the community is represented. “By and large, they’re not going to request something that isn’t right for their community,” he says. “The biggest thing is listening,” he says. “Do not come in as a savior. You come in to be humble and listen, and find out what the community really needs. If some ideas don’t fly, listen harder.”

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