by Rob Glidden
Volunteers from Home Depot launched a large-scale project to renovate the Community Services headquarters on Norton Street, with a plan to rework the former firehouse into a space that offered more possibilities to the department.
There are two branches in Home Depot within in Southington – this one is on the southern side of town in the Milldale. The inspiration for this project came from a good-natured competition between the store and the Queen Street Home Depot to see which could collect the most non-perishable food items for Community Services. When the donations were dropped off, the store’s workers realized they might be able to further help the department.
“This room was overloaded and there was stuff everywhere,” said store manager Nick Brosca. “We’re hoping this will help them get more out of this space.”
The work, which began last Thursday morning and was expected to last two days, includes adding new insulation, drywall and paint to the large room at the back of the department’s headquarters. A door was also widened by six inches to make it handicapped-accessible and workers assembled numerous shelves to help Community Services organize their stockpile of donated items more efficiently.
“They had everything piled up in here,” said Jim Bacon, a service associate at Home Depot. “Now we’ll have shelves and racks for them to use.”
The store also gave the department $8,500 worth of gift cards to purchase a refrigerator and other fixtures and furniture meant for a new bathroom adjacent to the back room.
“We’re so excited,” said Community Services Director Janet Mellon. “Life here will be so much easier. We’ll be more efficient and we’ll be able to do more things for less money.”
Mellon said the department hopes to use the additional space to conduct classes while still being able to hold all its donated material.
Several state and town officials visited the firehouse as the construction began to thank the volunteers.
“This is no small thing for us,” said Town Manager Garry Brumback. “It’s one thing to give material, but to give time like this is even more special.”
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