Visioning our common house                             June/July 2015
Small group at work on visioning our common house
Over the weekend of June 6 and 7, we met with our consultant, Katie McCamant, as she led us through the process of deciding the kinds of rooms and spaces we want in our common house.  What a great day of community building as first we "played" with identifying the gifts and talents and interests each of us brings to our common life; next we got
Hanging out at supper on the Broadhurst's deck.
a virtual tour through the inspiring spaces of common houses in co-housing communities all across the globe (thanks to Katie's amazing slide show!) and then we got down to "business", breaking into small groups to converse and prioritize what we wanted to see in our house, and then assimilating our ideas for Katie to take to her drawing board.  The day ended with a relaxed meal and chatting on Nan and Marty Broadhurst's lovely deck--a literal taste of what life in our common house will be.
Deconstruction for a cause!
The crew on our site
 For five days in June, a 20-member crew from the Coalfield Development Corporation, (a nonprofit working with young people from West Virginia to create jobs and encourage economic self-sufficiency) salvaged materials from the abandoned homes on our 19 acres. The work was part of a larger effort to provide an alternative to jobs in the coal mining industry for young people in poor areas of West Virginia by helping them acquire construction skills, life skills, and a degree. It was a win-win and win again situation: the salvaged material the crew re-used for their purposes; we got helping taking down the old buildings on our property; and less junk was sent to the landfill.


House down!

The nearly week-long effort had another benefit as the Shepherd Village community pulled together to provide logistical support, hospitality, food, and encouragement, drawing upon the churches and organizations with which we are connected. Nan Johnson did amazing and abundant work in coordinating it all, including obtaining not one, but two huge dumpsters. Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church provided meals and hospitality; Rolling Ridge donated the use of their six-bedroom Retreat House. Brandon Dennison, the founder and director of Coalfield Development and Reclaim Appalachia, was able one evening to give a stirring presentation about the vision of the organization, backed up by the testimonies of his crew. All in all, a productive and moving five days. As one of us said, "Life is full!"

Wizard award
Nan with her wizard's staff and picture of the dumpster brimful of wood from the de-constructed houses on our site.
Nan Johnson did incredible, stupendous, astounding work to make the project happen.  How did she do it?  All that organization and oversight, done with such grace and good humor! She must be a wizard!  We recognized her with a Wizard Award at our July members meeting.  Thank you, Nan, for using your seemingly magical powers to pull off this project for us all!

We have hired an engineering firm that seems to be a good fit for us: Allegheny Survey and Engineering. They have begun surveying and staking the roadway into the property, identifying 20 "test pit" locations where the builder  can determine the presence and quantity of rock that must be managed.

And speaking of which, we have just completed a Memorandum of Understanding for negotiations with our preferred developer/builder, have hired a legal firm, Jackson-Kelly, and decided on our cohousing architect!   


We now have 20 Equity Member households and four Explorer households!



Stay tuned!