BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Spring cleanups will soon be underway and Fort Madison Partners wants to help out about five homeowners in Fort Madison.
The group is currently putting together a Paint-A-Thon that will take place on May 12 where anywhere from 50 to 75 volunteers will climb all over the sides of qualified homes painting the sides and trim. The event will consist of teams of 10 to 15 people working on three to five homes.
Fort Madison Partners Executive Director Tim Gobble said homeowners who think their houses may qualify for the free paint job can pick up applications at the Partners’ office at 614 9th Street or call the office for more information at 372-5471. Applications are also available at any Fort Madison bank and Kempker’s True Value & Rental, Inc.
Kempker’s is also donating all the paint for the inaugural event and is the Premiere Sponsor.
“Right now, we’re still accepting applications for houses and working on putting teams together,” Gobble said Thursday. “What I’m really looking for is team leads, and that’s a person who would be like a liaison between each team and the Partners office to make communication easier as we get closer to the event. That person doesn’t have to a paint expert or anything, but someone we can just pass information with.”
With homes being painted on May 12, Gobble said he’s hoping for 15 to 20 team members on each house to be able to paint the homes between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. He said Hy-Vee has agreed to provide lunch for all the teams when the painting is done. Those interested in forming a team for the event should contact the Partners’ office.
A prep week is also planned for Monday through Friday leading up to the paint day where volunteers would work on the homes in shifts to get them ready to be painted on Saturday.
“This is set up to be a great opportunity for businesses, industries, social groups or even friends and neighbors to get together and give back to the community,” he said.
With most industries running six or seven days, Gobble said the prep work week and the paint days would provide opportunities for those who may have trouble getting 15 people out on a Saturday to work throughout the week as part of community service project. But the teams are small enough to allow some families and friends to join up and make a difference.
Volunteers on the teams must be 16 or older, which would allow some students to be part of the event.
The homes do not have to have wood siding. Most siding materials are now paintable. Homeowners selected for the program will be allowed to pick two traditional colors and will work with Kempker’s staff with paint samples to get it just right.
For homes to be qualified, the home must be owner occupied and the homeowner must meet one of the following criteria: 55 years of age or older, disabled, single parent, or veteran. There is also an income qualification piece of the application packet as well.
Cash donations and sponsorships for the event are still available as well. Gobble said donations and sponsorships will help offset the cost of equipment and supplies. But teams are encouraged to bring any painting supplies they have such as sprayers and automatic rollers to help make the process more efficient. Rental equipment can also be coordinated with Kempker’s.