First Corporate-Sponsored Habitat For Humanity House Breaks Ground

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Ground was broken for the first corporate-sponsored Habitat for Humanity house in Athens County on Saturday.

One Athens County family will have a new affordable home located at 379 Elizabeth St., Nelsonville, thanks to the generosity of the Rocky Community Improvement Fund and employees of Rocky Brands. The improvement fund is compiled of donations from Rocky Brands employees.

According to Kenneth Oehlers, executive director for Athens County Habitat for Humanity, this is the first corporate-sponsored Habitat build in Athens County. He said the Rocky Community Improvement Fund is providing money for the build and Rocky employees are providing the labor.

“We hope it’s the first of many (corporate-sponsored builds),” Oehlers said at the home’s groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday afternoon.

The home will be 1,000 square feet and have three bedrooms and one bathroom, Oehlers said.

A home on the site that was constructed in the early 1900s was demolished in February, making way for the new house to be built.

Construction on the home will begin on Monday and Oehlers said it is expected that the house will take about five months to complete.

Rocky Brands CEO David Sharp said that Rocky Brands is no stranger to giving back to the Nelsonville community and when Habitat for Humanity approached the business about the project, he said it was a “no brainer.”

“Every home needs a solid foundation and we recognize the need to step up in that regard for families in our community,” Sharp said. “That’s why Rocky Brands has made this a priority project for 2013. We hope our involvement spurs more organizations and businesses in the Athens and Nelsonville area to get engaged with Habitat for Humanity and the issue of adequate housing.”

Oehlers said the location on Elizabeth Street in Nelsonville has the convenience of city services such as public water, sewer and police and fire protection. He said the Nelsonville community also has a lot to offer families. “Nelsonville is a great place to live, in my opinion,” he said.

This will make the 14th Habitat for Humanity house in Nelsonville. Oehlers said Habitat is still searching for an eligible family for the home on Elizabeth Street.

Families are required to put in “sweat equity” to help with the construction in order to purchase the home.

Those interested in applying for a Habitat home should call Athens County Habitat for Humanity at 592-0032 ext. 101 or email

For information about Athens County Habitat for Humanity, visit