A Ravenna house built in 1871 by a Civil War veteran will be completed in February when four homeless veterans from Portage County move into Operation Restoration.
The brainchild of Family & Community Services, Inc., the housing project is now nearing completion. A soft opening of the house, located at 213 W. Riddle St. in Ravenna, was held Thursday with members of the various organizations that donated materials, time and manpower to revitalization. More than 120 volunteers donated over 800 hours of work.
Inside, four separate apartments will be given to the homeless veterans once they are vetted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Due to their financial situations, rent will likely be covered for free.
From the inside, much of the original structure is hidden under freshly painted walls, laminate flooring, furniture donated by the Holiday Inn Express in Kent, new cabinets and lighting, and full bathroom. Each room is also sponsored by a different family in honor of a service member.
Among the donors, Ravenna American Legion Post 331 sponsored most of the work. Post financial officer Dave Morris, as well as other members of the post, were on hand Thursday to tour the final product.
“We’re really proud to a part of something like this. This is what we stand for. Projects like this are what we do,” Morris said.
Apartment sponsors include Alberta Oostdyk in honor of Jake Oostdyk, Harold and Sharon Oostdyk in honor of John and Evalena Hoffstetter, Shirley Overholt in honor of Larry Overholt, and Allen Aircraft with the Mann Family in honor of Jay C. Wallace.
Mark Frisone, executive director of F&CS, said he was glad to see the place restored and bringing a sense of community back to the area. Much of the house was in dire straits before the organization began restoring it.
Neighborhood Development Services, with the help of the Ohio State Grant Ravenna City Revolving Loan program, along with Habitat for Humanity, Hummel Construction, American Pinnacle, Fall Floor Coverings, Greer Heating and Cooling, and several others all contributed to the project.
Further construction at the site includes paving the driveway and rear parking lot, reseeding the lawn, and installing flagpoles and a small memorial rock courtesy of the Post 331.