FARMINGTON — As many toured the recently completed rehabilitated mobile home in the 82 High Street housing community Wednesday, the home’s temperature rose.

For resident Raenna Greenman, who recently moved into the light, bright refurnished three-bedroom home, warmer temperatures are now the norm.

A thermostat set at 68 to 70 degrees means the home is quite toasty, she said, while greeting visitors who came to see the completed work.

Her previous home, also in 82 High Street, was open to give visitors a view of the work needed on the 20-plus-year-old homes.

Set beside a new Energy Star mobile home given to the community by Maine State Housing and a model for the work done, this one received a new metal roof, new water line, replacement windows, insulation, new doors and the belly underneath was fixed, said William Crandall, program manager of energy and housing resources at Western Maine Community Action. Mold issues were addressed and exterior particle board siding was replaced with a vapor barrier. All rugs have been removed and new flooring laid along with new Sheetrock and cosmetic changes inside the home.

“I think this will show up the new Energy Star home,” he said.

Lower energy costs and money saved on energy means more dollars spent locally on food, clothes and other items, Dale McCormick, director of the Maine State Housing Authority, said while commenting on the return on investments as she toured the home Wednesday.

The renewal program of the neighborhood is a collaborative effort between the residents of 82 High Street, their nonprofit board, the town and Western Maine Community Action. The first-phase is an energy-efficient rehabilitation of the mobile homes, Crandall explained. Fourteen will receive varying degrees of rehabilitation.

Last year, the town agreed to apply and accept the role of administrator of a $250,000 Community Development Block Grant for a portion of the work done. A second phase covers the apartment units in the park.

At that time, Steve Kaiser, code enforcement officer, said an assessment of the units had been done. It showed their structure was sound and they were repairable. Replacement of the homes would be cost prohibitive while keeping them as affordable housing.

“It (the project) would bring them up to snuff, more energy efficient and up to code,” Kaiser said.

For this first home rehabilitated, local labor was hired. Volunteers will help with others.

“We wanted to see what we could do,” said Janet Smith, chairwoman of the 82 High Street board.

Volunteers within the 82 High Street community have rallied and already helped gut the next two homes to receive work, Crandall said. Once one is completed, residents will have the option to move in for good or just until the work on their present home is completed.

A WMCA volunteer representative and resident, Dot Gordon, has been hired to coordinate the local volunteer work.

Student volunteers from the University of Maine at Farmington have become involved. Students at Foster Technology Center will build landings to replace the small steps leading into the homes.

More than 20 years ago, volunteers rebuilt the community. In 1987, the park was up for sale. The Rev. Scott Planting and Fen Fowler, executive director of WMCA, were concerned about the families. Many lived in older trailers.

Community Action purchased the property and with help from Maine State Housing obtained a mortgage to rehab the park and adjacent rental units.

Using volunteers from the community, area churches and other organizations, more than $1 million was invested in the property and more than 11,000 volunteer hours went into the project that has provided low income families homes to rent or own since.

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