Habitat for Humanity supports a historic Waterloo neighborhood - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Habitat for Humanity supports a historic Waterloo neighborhood

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In recent years, new light has been shining on the Walnut Neighborhood, an area of town that has weathered a lot.

In the 400 block of Saxon Street stands a house that is more than 100-years-old. Inside, Jack Beard continues to call his childhood home "home."

"All the grandkids, they have all been here. Christmas parties, you couldn't even get in the door, everyone was here," recalls Beard. 

It's all the memories that make the place home for Beard.

But being in a wheelchair, Beard has needed to make updates to the house, including a new shower that is easier to get in and out of.

"It has been fantastic. I wouldn't have been able to do it without them," said Beard, referring to the Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity. 

The organization has also helped Beard replace his windows and update the exterior.

Beard's home is just one of more than 20 projects Habitat is helping make possible.

"People like Jack who have lived in their house for over 50 years and they don't need to move. They just need help repairing their house," said Lindsay Pieters of Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity.

By providing loans and volunteers, Habitat is making home improvement more accessible. Other projects will aim at bringing new homeowners to the area.  All in an effort to support the comeback story that is the Walnut Neighborhood.

Habitat is just one of many organizations investing in the area.  Others include the All-In-Grocery store and restaurant set to be built this summer between Walnut and Franklin Streets.

The Boys and Girls Club of the Cedar Valley is also planning for a new building to expand their programming in the neighborhood.

JSA Development started historical renovations on several homes in the area, as well.

"We certainly didn't come into this neighborhood to say we are coming in here to fix and repair your broken neighborhood. We worked alongside neighbors, churches, and the city to come together," said Pieters.

 Of the 20-plus projects, Habitat plans to finish 12 home renovation projects this year. 

The home renovation project is focused on the Walnut Neighborhood, but Habitat has plans to move to other areas of town in the future.

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