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'Little House' to Get Big Makeover for Montville Groups

Home Depot bringing more than 30 volunteers to Passaic Valley Road to renovate old house.

Three local groups will come together under one roof after renovations to the "little house" at 91 Passaic Valley Road are complete.

In the meantime, volunteers from Home Depot are planning to help speed up the process by donating time and materials to complete the renovations.

The house, originally built in the 1940s, was situated on a horse farm. It is located next to a barn often used by the Montville Township Recreation Department for programs and events after it was purchased by the township nearly 15 years ago. At one point, the space was also used by the Montville Township Board of Education for special services.

According to John Ehntholt, a Home Depot employee who has coordinated the project with the township, 30 volunteers from stores in Montville, Parsippany, East Hanover and Clifton will come to the site on Saturday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to do labor.

"Basically, what we're looking to accomplish here is some installation of some flooring, stone walkways, a handicapped access ramp and some interior painting," he said

Township officials said the value of the donated materials from Home Depot totals around $6,000, although the township has applied for a Home Depot grant that would include more materials and donated time in the spring.

Recreation Director Maryann Witty said the project is part of an initiative, Team Depot, the corporation has started to give back.

"They do look at projects like this, especially when it benefits the community," she said.

Once the house renovations are complete, the recreation department will have a new meeting space for coaches to gather and small craft groups to come together. The space will also become the new home to the Montville Kiwanis Food Pantry and the Montville Township Police Explorers program.

Witty said the township took a survey of which groups would want to use the space and the three that were chosen are planning to begin using the house by the end of December.

"We're just looking to fill a space, to fill the needs recreation has," she said.

Deane Driscoll and Linda Gannon, two of the directors of the Montville Kiwanis Food Pantry, along with Joe O'Dowd, said the house will afford the pantry needed space that was not available where it currently operates at the Montville United Methodist Church.

"We have a wonderful place at the Montville United Methodist Church. We have a great relationship with them. But we don't have a place for storage," Gannon said.

Driscoll said about 90 people are registered to use the pantry, although only about 40 people regularly use it. Because of the house's somewhat remote location, the volunteers are hopeful more people in need will utilize the service.

As for the Explorers, leader Frank Cooney said the group will use their allotted space as a training facility and place to store equipment. Currently, equipment is stored at the Montville Township police station and the 30 young participants in the program train there. However, Cooney said it will be safer to bring the Explorers into their own space so that they are not in the way of the officers.

"We've been working on getting our own facility for 15 years," Cooney said.

Cooney said the Explorers will train for national competitions in the space and that the facility will allow the program to grow and include more teenagers, ages 13-20.

The township is still seeking donations for roofing and window materials. Anyone interested should contact Witty at mwitty@montvillenj.org

Mom Tlm December 03, 2012 at 12:11 PM
This is terrific!
Sarah F. December 03, 2012 at 12:31 PM
What a great story. That house was definitely in need of repair!
Jeff Gamba December 03, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Thanks Home Depot.
Ron Soussa December 04, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Great job Linda, Deane, and Frank! Thanks to Home Depot, a wonderful corporate neighbor. Love the Explorers and Kiwanis Food Pantry!

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