AUBURN — Construction will begin soon at 133 Hampshire St., site of the 15th home being built by Androscoggin Habitat for Humanity volunteers.

Habitat President Allen Sterling said on July 15 that after a few trees are cleared, heavy equipment will begin digging a foundation. He said construction has been delayed by the need to locate exact boundary lines for the narrow lot. Now, a surveyor has established the lines and building will begin.

Sterling said, “I expect we can begin construction this month. The weather is a big factor.”

He explained that the lot lines are not perpendicular to the street and it was necessary to research old deeds to determine the exact boundaries. Androscoggin Habitat purchased the lot for $3,000 from the city of Auburn following a vote by the City Council to authorize the sale. Construction of a house will return the property to the city’s tax rolls.

Sterling welcomed about 50 people attending a groundbreaking ceremony on  June 7. He said, “Androscoggin Habitat for Humanity’s commitment to providing affordable housing in the county continues with this, our 15th home.” He expressed thanks to Auburn officials and the City Council for their efforts in making the site available. “Their decision to sell this lot to Habitat at a reduced price exemplifies their commitment to help provide affordable housing to local residents,” he said.

Sterling also thanked Auburn architect Michel Giasson, who is designing the house. “The small footprint of this particular lot and city setback requirements present difficult design challenges. Without Michel’s expertise and his donation of time, Habitat would not be ready to build today.”

Sterling added his thanks to the volunteers who will be working on the house this summer.

The ceremony included introduction of the homeowners, Richard and Pamela Cowles, who will live there with their five children. A committee chose the family from among 25 applicants on the basis of need for affordable housing, ability to repay an interest-free mortgage and ability to help with construction.

Richard Cowles is a native of Buckfield and is employed at Maine Oxy in Auburn. Pamela grew up in Auburn, works at Holly’s Own Deli and is studying for an online degree in psychiatry from the University of Phoenix. Their family includes daughters Charlotte, Elizabeth, India and Rhiannon and son Elijah.

During the ceremony David Gilpatric presented the family with a household tool kit on behalf of Minot Grange 42.
Anyone interested in volunteering to help build the house should call 786-2598 for information.

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