FARMINGTON — Rehabilitation of mobile homes in the community of 82 High Street is complete, and those involved gathered recently to celebrate the work that brought neighbors together and made the homes warmer and safer.

Owners of the 17 homes, contractors, volunteers, neighbors, 82 High Street board members and Western Maine Community Action took part. Tours were given of some of the 20-year-old homes, and recognitions made for those involved with the Community Development Block Grant project.

The housing development is Sawtelle Lane.

Residents Karlene Cloutier and Gail Greenman expect they’ll only fill their oil tanks once this winter, since they are already full.

“There’s no drafts even with thermostats now set at 68 degrees,” Cloutier said.

Roofs and windows were replaced, and attics, walls and other spaces weatherized.

Christine Barker was able to turn the thermostat off in March when she moved into her newer home. Air conditioning was not needed this summer. Fans sufficed because of the new insulation, she said.

The project gave the homes another 20 years of life, Farmington Code Enforcement Officer Steve Kaiser said. “It’s so much better than expected. The project is a good demonstration of what can be done.”

On behalf of the town, Kaiser and Cindy Gelinas provided direction and administration of the $227,000 grant received for the project.

MaineHousing contributed approximately $194,000, and WMCA staff coordinated all the weatherization activities. Students in the Foster Technology Center building construction program at Mt. Blue High School provided labor and site setup of seven entry and rear landings.

Local contractors were hired for much of the work, but more than 1,000 volunteer hours of labor saved about $30,000.

A new Energy Star mobile home was given to the community by MaineHousing as a model for the project, William Crandall, program manager of energy and housing resources at WMCA said last year.

Recognitions were awarded to several residents who participated in the project by the 82 High Street board of directors.

82 High Street residents banded together on the project, according to several who voiced their appreciation during the recognitions.

“It’s been a benefit for everyone with safe, clean homes for families,” said Dot Gordon, the initial volunteer coordinator for the community. Reanna Greenman also served as a volunteer coordinator.

Volunteers painted, cleaned, pulled rugs and learned simple home improvements, Gordon said. They now know how to fix a hole in the wall and other things.

“I didn’t know how to do anything. Now I know how to do everything,” Diane Schubarth said as Crandall gave her special recognition for giving the most volunteer hours.

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