New Carlisle opens Tool Lending Center to assist city residents

Derek Hutchinson understands the frustration homeowners feel when they’re tackling projects around their home only to realize they don’t have all the necessary equipment.

Tools can be expensive and sometimes it doesn’t make sense to purchase items that will only be used once, says Hutchinson, New Carlisle Planning Director. That inspired him to launch the city’s new Tool Lending Center program in August so residents can borrow tools for free.

The city spruced up the gray building in Smith Park, 801 W. Jefferson St., and now uses it to house lawn care equipment and a variety of tools, most of which are manual or electric.

“We have a little bit of everything,” Hutchinson says. “We have a standard push mower and then a self-propelled mulching mower that has a bagger. We have weed trimmers, leaf blowers, all different types of hand tools as far as shovels and rakes. We have ladders, gardening tools like hand shears and hand shovels, extension cords that go along with some of the items. And then we have a lot of just household hand tools.”

The collection also includes an electric drill, power washer, circular saw, sanders and lots of paint supplies. Most of the equipment was purchased new with $3,000 from the Planning Department and some items were donated by local residents. More tools will be added to the collection over time.

“We are always happy to accept tools because that obviously saves money,” Hutchinson says.

Donated tools must be in good condition.

The lending center is modeled after a similar program in Fairborn. In addition to assisting residents with home improvement projects, Hutchinson says the program works hand in hand with the city’s code enforcement division to ensure properties are properly maintained. If someone receives a violation for not mowing their grass, for example, that person could borrow a lawn mower, if needed.

The program is open to anyone who lives within New Carlisle’s city limits. Borrowers must supply a valid driver’s license and their most recent water utility bill.

Items typically can be borrowed for 24 hours, although the Planning Department may grant extensions in cases of unforeseen inclement weather. Participants have to sign an agreement that states they are responsible for replacement costs if a tool is stolen, damaged due to misuse or not returned on time.

For now, equipment will be available for pick-up at agreed-upon times, but in the future Hutchinson wants to open the center for lending at regularly scheduled times so people can easily drop in to pick up what they need.

He hopes the program makes it easier for residents to take on the projects they want to do around their home.

“If they want to help beautify our city and make people proud of being here and living here, this will help them do that,” he says.

Anyone interested in donating or borrowing equipment can call Derek Hutchinson at (937) 845-9492, ext. 20, or email him at [email protected]

Read more articles by Gail Meadows.

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