By Leo Brodie
SEATTLE, Washington -- We are thrilled to announce that we have won a generous grant through Cleanscapes’ Neighborhood Waste Reduction Rewards program! The grant will fund refurbishing and converting the building for use as a tool library.
The Cleanscapes program is an annual competition between its pickup areas, as determined by the day of the week on which recycling is collected. From September 2010 through August 2011, the “Tuesday North” collection day neighbors decreased their waste by 400 tons, a 4.7% improvement according to Cleanscapes. As a result, this pickup area, which included Ravenna, Roosevelt, Wedgwood and Bryant, won the right to submit project proposals for a total reward of $50,000.
The opportunity caught the attention of Susan Gregory, a member of the steering committee of Sustainable NE Seattle. Susan, along with several other members, had been watching the success of the West Seattle Tool Library, and had been hoping to start a tool library here. Enthusiasm was high. The challenge was finding a suitable location with no operating budget. Receiving a grant might make possible what had seemed impossible.
Susan assembled a team to develop a grant proposal for building a small facility at a neighborhood community center. The proposal was submitted in time for the January 31, 2012 deadline. Unfortunately, after the proposal was submitted, the arrangement for the location fell through. Knowing that the grant would not be funded if we didn’t have a location, Susan began scouring the neighborhoods. Finally, she noticed an unused building on the property of the North Seattle Friends Church. The church agreed to rent the building to the NE Seattle Tool Library, and we resubmitted our proposal to Cleanscapes.
Under the grant, Cleanscapes will fund refurbishing costs including insulation, ceiling tiles, repairing wallboard, electrical and plumbing, and exterior painting, as well as materials for building shelves. Volunteers from the Tool Library and the church are providing cleanup, interior painting, and shelf construction.
The NE Seattle Tool Library received the bulk of the $50,000 reward, with other funded projects including Roosevelt Neighborhood ID Signs and Picardo Farms P-Patch Improvements.
“What a great model showing that borrowing and sharing can reduce waste and strengthen a community. The Tool Library will benefit both the surrounding neighborhood as well as the region and we are proud to support this new community resource,” says Chris Martin, President and CEO of CleanScapes.
For her part, Gregory is thrilled that the project she spearheaded has won the grant reward. “This grant is just what we needed to kick start our library. We can now reasonably expect to celebrate our Grand Opening this September. We still have a lot of work to do, but we’re already receiving membership applications and cash donations, and donated tools are pouring in,” she reports.