Habitat celebrates 43rd house in Lynmore Estates

lfabian@macon.comJuly 8, 2014 

When it comes to restoration of her Lynmore Estates neighborhood, Carrie Redmond thanks God and Habitat for Humanity.

In giving the invocation at Tuesday’s ceremony for the 2014 Home Builder Blitz, she was quick to praise the local organization that has built 43 new homes in a community once rife with dilapidated buildings.

“They’re the only ones who would come out here. Everybody else was looking down on us,” said Redmond, who is the president of Lynmore Estates’ Neighborhood Watch.

Redmond has marked a quarter of a century in the neighborhood that sprouted in the old peach orchard off Mead Road near Macon’s industrial sector.

“It’s looking up around here,” Redmond said after touring the new four-bedroom, two-bathroom, one-story, vinyl-sided house at 571 Carmen Place.

A team of more than three dozen organizations set out to build the house in 30 days.

“Actually it was about 25 days from start to finish with the landscaping and everything,” said Nikki Porcher, marketing coordinator for the Macon Area Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat International promotes a Builder Blitz each year, and this year the local team partnered with the Home Builder Association of Middle Georgia and three residential contractors: New Atlantic Realty Group -- RDG Ventures; Wes Walker Builders LLC; and Tony Butler Construction.

The donated supplies and labor totaled more than $70,000, said Jim Mercer, Habitat’s local development director.

“We have a great base of donors and corporate sponsors,” Mercer said.

A new capital campaign is launched each year. The money raised before July determines how many projects can be completed, he said.

Over a five-year period, the organization is striving to serve 50 families by 2018 and is already at 13, said Harold Tessendorf, Habitat’s local executive director.

Donations fund about 10 new homes each year, he said. Three other houses are underway in Lynmore Estates.

“Our other big goal is to eliminate blight,” Tessendorf said. “We’re increasing the value of people’s property and we’re also making this a safer neighborhood.”

Joni Williams, a mother of four, will be moving her family into the new house in the coming weeks.

Begonias and vinca blooms are already putting down roots around a towering oak tree and in a flowerbed in front of the porch.

“This place has a special place in my heart,” said Greg Thompson, of Greg’s Georgia Gardens, who landscaped the property and put down sod. “I grew up here as a kid and I’m really excited they’re fixing the place up.”

In the early ‘60s, Thompson lived on Dorothy Avenue and Shi Place before moving to the country.

He didn’t often return. “At times, you wouldn’t want to come through here,” he said. “But I was amazed with what Habitat has done to bring this community up.”

Habitat’s neighborhood revitalization coordinator, Sundra Woodford, has organized a “Clean Sweep Cleanup” for June 21 and plans a fruit tree orchard and community vegetable garden.

She also tracks absentee property owners while working to tear down houses that are too far gone to save.

“It’s slow, but it’s progressing,” Woodford said. “If residents start seeing the neighborhood in a different way, then people will see the neighborhood in a different way.”

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