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Wednesday, June 11, 2008 01:40 pm

New chapter

Homeowners’ group seeks to block Habitat build

Untitled Document Next week will mark the beginning of a new chapter in the life of Patty Redpath and her big brood of adopted children [see Dusty Rhodes, “Seventh heaven,” April 24], as Habitat for Humanity breaks ground on a home for the Redpath family June 18. Helping out during the first intensive days of the build will be a busload of at least 26 kids from Helias High School in Jefferson City, Mo., which happens to be the alma mater of Habitat executive director Dana Plummer (Class of 1987). Plummer says the unexpected help came while she was working with the school to get a picture of her dad’s football team and casually mentioned that Helias should consider including Habitat in future mission trips. Within a few hours Helias principal Didier Aur had called her, saying that two dozen kids wanted to help. “This is just awesome, I can’t believe it,” Plummer says. The kids will bring sleeping bags to camp out at the Redpath’s church, Little Flower, and pay about $85 apiece for the chartered bus. “We have great kids,” Aur says, adding that seven recent graduates are among the Helias building crew. However, the enthusiasm over the new home hasn’t caught on among officers of the homeowners’ association in Eastview Estates, the upscale predominantly black neighborhood where the Redpath home will be built. Plummer says Habitat has received a “cease and desist” order from the group, which opposes the project mainly because Habitat doesn’t build basements, and Eastview officers say houses without basements will reduce property values. The association also tried to block Habitat’s first project in the neighborhood [see “Not in my black yard,” Sept. 27, 2007].  “I’ve heard through the grapevine they’re planning some sort of civil disobedience,” Plummer says. Officers of the homeowners’ association have consistently declined to answer questions about Habitat, but both Plummer and Lisa Reeves — the first Habitat homeowner in Eastview — have said that most neighbors have been friendly, generous, and supportive.
Contact Dusty Rhodes at drhodes@illinoistimes.com.
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