Area family gets renovated home

BEECH BOTTOM – A house-warming at Mary McAllister's new home on Clendenon Street brought together the many individuals and groups that had a hand in renovating the house. Beech Bottom Mayor Becky Uhlly said Wells Fargo International, the international banking and financial services company, had acquired the house after it had been foreclosed upon and approached village officials to assist in renovating and marketing it through the company's Community Urban Stabilization Program. Through the program, Wells Fargo partners with faith-based and other nonprofit groups to make housing available to people with low to moderate incomes. Article Photos Warren Scott
WELCOME — Beech Bottom Mayor Becky Uhlly, left, presented a welcome mat to Mary McAllister outside McAllister’s new home in the village. The Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle teamed with village officials, Wells Fargo International, Hancock County Savings Bank and the Lawn Barber, among others, to renovate the vacant home and seek a new occupant.   Town Council was unable to take on the project, but approached the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle after learning the economic development group had expressed interest in supporting new housing to encourage economic development. Pat Ford, the BDC's executive director, said the group's board approved the project cautiously, with the understanding the house could be turned over quickly to a new owner. The Lawn Barber, a Burgettstown contractor involved in landscaping and home renovations, was hired to renovate the house, and Hancock County Savings Bank arranged a loan for McAllister after she completed pre-loan counseling classes conducted by C.H.A.N.G.E. Inc. and met other conditions. “Nothing was handed to anyone. She made this happen. She established her own credit and is making her own way,” Cathy Ferrari, bank chief executive officer and president, told those attending the house-warming. McAllister was chosen from five applicants considered by a volunteer board made up of six representatives of three local churches: Christian Life Apostolic, Beech Bottom Community Christian and Holy Family Catholic Mission. “I was fortunate to be a part of that committee. I'm so glad she could be blessed in such a way,” said the Rev. Larry Wallbrown, pastor of Christian Life Apostolic Church. Ford said those involved are hopeful the house would be occupied long-term. And Beech Bottom was familiar to McAllister, who had been renting a home in Weirton for her and her 8-year-old daughter but had made friends in the community while attending Christian Life Apostolic. She said she was looking forward to moving into the community and owning her first home. McAllister admitted to being a bit overwhelmed after receiving a tour of the single-story six-room house. Richard Soplinski, owner of the Lawn Barber, and his brother and co-worker, Vince Soplinski, showed McAllister a home with a new roof, flooring, carpet, hot water heater, furnace, windows and in the bathroom, a new sink, toilet and bath. The crumbling ceiling in one room was replaced, dark wood panel walls were replaced with light plaster ones and new insulation was blown into the walls. Richard Soplinski noted the house was in much disarray when McAllister last visited it. There also were a few other surprises: A new stove, refrigerator, clothes washer and dryer. Soplinski said when they told area vendors about the project, many donated materials or provided them at a large discount. They included Weirton Lumber, Marsh Hardware, Jimco Plumbing, Robert Scott Lumber and Lowe's Home Improvement. “We are psyched. It's really neat to be involved in a project like this,” he said. Joining the various groups involved were community members who did their best to make McAllister feel welcome.Uhlly presented a welcome mat to McAllister and joined members of the village's Community Watch program in serving refreshments. Earlier they planted flowers in front of McAllister's home. Someone mentioned that Zane Anderson, McAllister's new neighbor, has been cutting the grass. Wallbrown presented a new bicycle for McAllister's daughter, Destiny, on behalf of his church. The Rev. Dan Harry, past