Clyde Walker became the fourth recipient of a Columbus Cottage this morning on land his parents bought while working at the old Bibb Mill.
“I’ll sleep well tonight,” said Walker, 74, as he stood in his new kitchen watching well-wishers tour his home. “I couldn’t sleep last night. I was like a little kid waiting on Santa Claus.”
The house on 13th Avenue near 50th Street, is a two-bedroom, one bath cottage with linoleum tile floors and a fully equipped kitchen, including a dishwasher. The bath has ceramic tile floors and a walk-in shower. An elevated covered concrete front porch sports a wicker rocking chair donated for the occasion.
Walker is a Columbus native who grew up on the lot where his new cottage now sits. Born in 1938, he moved to Buffalo, N.Y., in the late ‘50s, where he worked as a truck driver for about 20 years.
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When Walker’s father, Willie, died, his mother, Viola, wasn’t able to keep the house up. So when she died and left the house to Walker, it was dilapidated. Walker tried to repair the house, but it became too much for his fixed income.
That was when the Columbus Cottage program stepped in. Last November, the old house was torn down and construction was begun on the new cottage.
Columbus Cottage is a program of NeighborWorks Columbus. It provides help for elderly residents whose homes have fallen into disrepair. When residents are chosen, their houses are demolished and replaced with a $40,000-$50,000 cottage that they will be theirs to live in for the rest of their lives. Upon their death, the house reverts to the cottage program to be used for another elderly person in need.
“I think this might be our best one yet,” said Cathy Williams, CEO of NeighborWorks, after this morning’s ceremony.
In addition to the new home, Walker will be allowed to go to the PAWS/Animal Control complex and choose a pet to share it with.