Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Community Forklift Grand Opening this weekend

Demolition at 4th and Florida, NEDemolition at 4th and Florida, NE.

Let's Celebrate! Jim, Jon, Billy and Ruthie invite you to the Grand Opening of
Community Forklift
April 27-29, 2006

Have you checked out Community Forklift yet? We are the DC metro area's surplus, salvaged, and green building materials store - owned and operated by the nonprofit Sustainable Community Initiatives. You can donate building materials to receive a tax deduction, or buy new and used items at very low prices!

Our goals are to:

-- Lift up communities by making repairs more affordable for homeowners, small businesses and community groups;
-- Reduce construction waste, decreasing the demand for virgin materials and keeping reusable materials out of landfills and incinerators;
-- Create career opportunities for local residents; and
-- Educate the public about green building materials and methods, especially reuse.

It's time to celebrate our opening!

Please come to our party on April 29, 2006.

Where: The Community Forklift store at
4671 Tanglewood Drive in Edmonston, MD (the Hyattsville area)
Call 301-985-5180 or find detailed directions here.

What & When:
Contests and Special Discounts
All day, Thurs. April 27 - Sat. April 29

Green Building Commerce Fair
Meet Local Businesses that Choose to Reuse - Fri. April 28 & Sat. April 29, 1-4 pm

Workshops for Do-It-Yourselfers
New Lives for Old Materials - Sat. To Be Announced
A Woman Did It - Sat. 12 pm

Kids' Activities
Green Games - Sat. 11 a.m.
Dollhouses for Little Treehuggers - Sat. 1-4 pm

Potluck and BBQ
Meat & Veggie - Sat. 4-8 pm

Blessing of the Green Builders
Multi-Denominational - Sat. 5 pm

Dance, Reggae, & Old School
with DJ Birdman - Sat. 5:30-8 pm

For more information about Community Forklift, check out the press release below.

Dancing, Deconstruction, and Dollhouses -
Nonprofit aims to reduce waste and make home repair affordable
April 7, 2006
Contact: Ruthie Mundell, Outreach Director
office: 301-985-5180 or cell: 301-904-7579

Home improvement stores use a variety of strategies to attract customers, from how-to clinics to gardening newsletters. Now, a new store in the DC area is trying some unconventional methods, including singles mixers, a potluck dinner, and information on environmentally-friendly building.

But Community Forklift is not your typical home improvement business. Owned and operated by a nonprofit (Sustainable Community Initiatives), the store sells surplus, salvaged, and green building materials at very low prices. In choosing a location, planners insisted on the eastern side of the DC region, to be closer to underserved neighborhoods. Almost everything in the store was once destined for the landfill, from the items for sale to the display racks and checkout desk.

President Jim Schulman explains, "Unfortunately, we get a lot of calls from people who want to buy forklifts! But our name explains our mission: we hope to lift up communities by making repairs more affordable for homeowners, small businesses, and community groups. By collecting donations of new and used items, we reduce waste and provide building materials very inexpensively to folks who need them."

Construction debris makes up over half of America's solid waste stream. Contractors and manufacturers need to clear out leftovers and excess inventory, and have to throw away items that are still in the original packaging. During renovations, homeowners often toss out perfectly good appliances, cabinets, wood flooring, or bathroom fixtures.

Community Forklift offers an alternative, making it possible to choose to reuse.

Schulman adds, "The re-use of building materials is a winning situation for everyone involved. Half of our inventory comes from deconstruction, in which a building is taken apart carefully by skilled laborers instead of demolished with heavy machinery. This creates jobs, uses less fossil fuel, and costs the same or less than traditional demolition. Instead of paying dumping fees, businesses and property owners earn tax deductions. The unemployed find careers through job training in the deconstruction industry. The materials can be sold cheaply, so homeowners and small businesses can afford repairs - making neighborhoods cleaner and safer. Nonprofits, artists, and theatre groups can find materials at low prices. Renovators can find antique trim and hardware to preserve historic buildings. And everyone benefits because less virgin material is taken from the ground or the forest."

Outreach Director Ruthie Mundell says, "Our customers and volunteers are a fun group. They come to poke around the store, but I think they also like meeting other packrats, treehuggers, and bargain-hunters. Right now, I'm looking for help with the grand opening - particularly businesses to display at the trade fair or donate door prizes.

Items that you can donate or purchase include: lumber, roofing, flooring, masonry, siding, paint, plumbing fixtures, appliances, windows, insulation, doors, cabinets, radiators, hardware, trim, mantels, shelving, and mirrors. The store will soon carry a line of new green building materials (Zero VOC paints, bamboo flooring, borate treated lumber, and cotton insulation).

For more information about the grand opening, donation guidelines, or materials in stock, contact Community Forklift at 301-985-5180. The store is five minutes from DC, across the border in Maryland, and easily accessible from the DC Beltway, I-295, Kenilworth Avenue, Route One, or Rhode Island Avenue. Hours are Thursday - Saturday, 8 am - 4 pm.

Demolition at 4th and Florida, NE

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