Coalition helps to realize homeownership dreams


May 13, 1999|By Judy Reilly | Judy Reilly,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE WORD IS getting out about the Interfaith Housing Development Coalition of Western Maryland, thanks to neighbors like Bob and Carolyn Scott.

The Scotts recently held an information luncheon at their Taneytown home on behalf of the project, and 145 people attended. Businesses and banks in Carroll sponsored the luncheon, with the Carroll Garden Club providing floral arrangements.

Keynote speakers were Bishop Frank Murphy, chairman of the coalition board; coalition President Jim Upchurch; and homeowner Bernadette Canon.

The coalition makes it possible for those with incomes in the $20,000 to $25,000 range to own homes they couldn't afford otherwise. Money to finance the homes comes from local banks, federal grants and foundations.

The coalition serves five counties in Western Maryland; Carroll is the newest member, with nearly 30 projects on the drawing board. One of the most successful projects has been 22 new houses built in Taneytown; all are occupied by owners who did most of the construction themselves.

The coalition requires that kind of sweat equity, according to Robert Hartman, a retired professor of religion at Western Maryland College and Carroll's liaison to the project.

"It's a real self-help project, a unique opportunity for home ownership, and we're reaching out as widely as possible," he said.

The Taneytown neighborhood is ethnically diverse. All the owners put in 1,000 hours of labor -- sometimes with the help of groups like the Taneytown Board of Realtors -- to build their new homes. Projects are supervised by professionals in the construction industry.

Carolyn Scott thinks the luncheon was a success, based on the number of thank-you notes she's received from many who attended.

"We picked up volunteers as well as financial support," she said.

The project has come full circle for Rick Stonesifer, Mary Stonesifer and Lloyd Poates. They built their own homes through the coalition and now serve on its board of directors.

Information: Robert Hartman, 410-848-3777.

Lions yard sale

If you've been meaning to clean the attic, garage or basement, why not set a deadline of May 22? That's when the Taneytown Lions will sponsor its annual yard sale -- and the club is looking for usable and unusual items to sell.

Proceeds benefit Lions' eye projects, including eye exams and eyeglasses for those in need.

The yard sale will take place from 7 a.m. to noon on the parking lot at 418 E. Baltimore St.

In addition to yard-sale items, the Lions will sell food, coffee and baked goods.

To arrange a donation, call Leonard Wantz Jr., 410-751-1200.

Here comes summer

Kids in kindergarten through eighth grade get the chance to boogie the night away this weekend when the Taneytown Girl Scouts sponsor a "Here Comes Summer" dance from 6: 30 p.m. to 9: 30 p.m. tomorrow at the Taneytown American Legion Hall.

Taneytown resident and popular disc jockey Kathy Diehl will spin the CDs, take requests from dancers and announce door-prize winners.

Stacey Lookingbill, a Girl Scout leader and organizer of these dances held throughout the year, says that these events are so popular that they've had to turn kids away at the door. The Legion hall has a capacity of 250. Tomorrow's dance is the last of the school year.

Dances are chaperoned by parents, Girl Scout leaders and other adult volunteers, and the purpose is just to have fun.

"Even the little kids get out there on the dance floor and bebop away," says Lookingbill. "We all have a blast."

Tickets cost $3 in advance or $5 at the door.

Information: 410-756-1237.

Day trip to Fallingwater

It had been on my wish list for a very long time -- a day trip to Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, the weekend and summer residence he designed in 1936 for the family of Edgar J. Kaufmann, founder of Pittsburgh's major department store.

Fallingwater, owned and operated by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy since 1963, is open to the public.

On Mother's Day, my family granted the wish, and we drove to the site in western Pennsylvania. It was well worth the 180-mile drive through Western Maryland, then up and down the winding roads of Pennsylvania. On the way to Fallingwater, we stopped to stroll through parts of Ohiopyle State Park and Fort Necessity National Battlefield.

Once at Fallingwater, the size, scope and beauty of Wright's architecture took our breath away. As an example of organic architecture -- a design that brings nature into a man-made structure -- the house rises over a waterfall and sits amid hundreds of acres of rhododendrons.

The lines blur between outside and inside the structure, all senses are touched -- and it's hard to go home again.

If you take the trip, make sure to reserve a time slot for the tour, which lasts about an hour. Note that the rhododendron blooms peak around July 4. And take a picnic to enjoy at Ohiopyle or Fort Necessity.

Fallingwater information: 724-329-8501.

Judy Reilly's Northwest neighborhood column appears each Thursday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 5/13/99

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