Tonawanda News — The deadline to apply for a philanthropic contest held by a North Tonawanda company and now in its third year will be extended by several weeks, though the end result will be the same.
Called Project HOPE, or Helping Others Paint Exteriors, the citywide endeavor started by the business Painters Plus, will utilize the company’s staff and a host of volunteers to refurbish the outside of one city home.
The contest began in 2011, an initiative launched by owner Jesse Gooch, who said he wanted to use his business to assist residents in financial distress. The one-day event also involves local politicians as well as the Chamber of Commerce of the Tonawandas.
The deadline for residents interested in winning the contest, which is decided by Gooch, has now been bumped up from late July to Aug. 9, with work expected to take place Aug. 24, weather permitting.
Gooch said another one of his motivations was to “prevent the onset of blight” in the Lumber City, which has made some gains in recent years as it attempts to reinvent its its image with recent movement in the downtown corridor, specifically along Webster Street and parts of the waterfront.
“It has always been my passion to help people and to make a difference in my community” he said. “During these tough economic times, it has been a struggle for people to maintain or improve their homes. I have seen many homes in the area that have loose and peeling paint, dingy colors and rotted siding.”
Two homes on Wheatfield and Robinson streets have been the past recipients of the one-day service. Gooch emphasized his belief that homes falling into disrepair are often caused by a lack of means rather than simple neglect.
“My question is, are these people neglecting their homes or do they want to improve their homes but don’t have the physical or financial means?” Gooch said. “I believe that in many cases it’s not neglect. And that’s what drove me to start and continue with the Painters Plus project.”
Gooch noted he plans to select a homeowner who may not necessarily be able to do the work themselves, such as a senior citizen, an injured military veteran or those who are otherwise disabled or struggling to make ends meet. When selected, the home will be pressure washed, primed and painted, he added.
Mayor Rob Ortt, who has been a part of the program during the last two summers and will participate again this year, lauded the North Tonawanda company’s contest.
“This is a great project, and it brings the community together and helps people in the process,” he said.
Those interested in applying can do so in one of three ways, including online at www.paintersplus.us, by mailing a letter to the business at 800 Walck Road, North Tonawanda, 14120, or by picking up an application at City Hall, 216 Payne Ave.
Applicants are requested to introduce themselves in a short paragraph, explain their particular hardship and provide pictures of their house, with a name, address, and a telephone number attached. Photos will not be returned.
Additional information is available at 693-PLUS (7587) or by email at email@example.com.Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.