Bike to Build helps grow community

Bike to Build helps grow community

February 26th, 2011 By Paul Leach in News

CLEVELAND, Tenn.-The collected donations of hundreds of Toyota of Cleveland Bike to Build cyclists will sponsor an actual Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland home. This year's cycling event launches April 2 from Bradley Central High School.

Construction on the Habitat house is scheduled for later this year or early next year, according to Jaime Lynn Barks of Habitat's local resource development group.

A qualifying family in the Habitat program will be able to buy the home with a zero-interest loan.

Christine Headrick is the recipient of the home built in part through last year's Bike to Build event.

"It's a true blessing. I'm paying for a home," Headrick said.

She said she and her family have been involved with Habitat in Cleveland for three years.

She took mandatory classes on budgeting and home ownership after completing the application process, she said.

She not only made a down payment for her future home, she also put in 300 hours in the nonprofit organization's construction projects before she could take possession of the house.

The volunteer work hours, or "sweat equity," are a Habitat requirement, not an option.

"You have to be committed, not iffy," said Headrick, who moved into her home shortly after its completion in August 2010.

The service hours offer opportunities to bring in family and friends to help, Barks said.

The Headricks helped Habitat relocate its Cleveland office and ReStore retail/resale operations to the old cinema on Grove Avenue a couple of years ago.

Headrick's teenage son Cody brought in a troop of Bradley High football players to help demolish and remodel the theater's interior to make way for the big move.

The service hours also contribute to a community spirit at Habitat's Century Village.

"You get to know your neighbors before you move in," Headrick said.

Last year's inaugural Bike to Build event drew about 250 cyclists and raised about $25,000, according to Tammy Johnson, coordinator for this year's event. She hopes to double those figures this year, she said.

The cycling event features 20K, 50K, 100K and 100-mile routes. All rides begin and end at Bradley Central High School, encompassing pastoral roads in McDonald, Black Fox, Hopewell and Candies Creek, according to ride length.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. E-mail him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland

300 Grove Ave. SW

Cleveland, TN 37364

423.476.6947

http://habitatofcleveland.org/index.htm