Grant helps tool-lending program for DIY homeowners

2013-05-02T17:02:00Z Grant helps tool-lending program for DIY homeownersBy Rachel Wells | rwells@pantagraph.com pantagraph.com

BLOOMINGTON — A free tool-lending program will use a $25,000 grant to buy a power washer, scaffolding, a paint sprayer and more in an expanding effort to help people spiff up their homes and neighborhoods.

The Tool Library, hosted by the West Bloomington Revitalization Project, 800 W. Washington St., is one of 40 community projects across the nation to receive a State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant.

The program, in its second year, received 3,000 applications, which were narrowed to 200. Online voters gave The Tool Library more than 47,000 votes, putting it in 20th place of 40 top projects.

Matt LaLonde, the Illinois Wesleyan University student who founded the Tool Library, said the organization wants to spend about $10,000 to buy tools, with the rest going toward administering the program, a possible intern to staff the library, and an expanded storage space.

He said the library, which opened in January, has about 30 members who together have borrowed at a rate of five or six items each week. He expects more use as word spreads and summer approaches.

He said users have been excited to work on projects they weren’t able to do before “and now they’re able to do them and take a little pride in their homes.”

Holly Anderson, a spokeswoman for State Farm Insurance Cos., said the program has been “a really great way for us to identify neighborhoods in need and for folks to tell us what’s important to them.”

“It rallies them to get involved in their community,” she said.

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