WATERVILLE — It was a blustery Sunday in Waterville’s South End. As damp leaves breezed around a newly installed picket-fence at 181 Water St., warmth exuded through the home’s bay window while inside community members and members of the Waterville Community Land Trust recognized the completion of the home renovation.

“We’re taking gems in the neighborhood that have strong bones and renovating them so that low-income families and working families can move into a move-in ready home,” Waterville City Councilor Jackie Dupont, D-Ward 7, and member of the Waterville Community Land Trust board, said.

The Waterville Community Land Trust was formed three years ago and is a nonprofit organization that plans to buy or acquire houses in Waterville neighborhoods through donations and fundraising, then fix them up and sell them at affordable prices to families once the renovations are complete. By providing updated and affordable homes for families to own instead of rent in neighborhoods like the South End, the land trust hopes to preserve the historic nature of neighborhoods, according to Nancy Williams, vice president of development for the Waterville Community Land Trust.

The home at 181 Water St. is the land trust’s first completed renovation and currently the only home the organization owns.

From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, the land trust held an open house not only to mark the completion of the project, but also to act as a showing for young families or couples interested in purchasing the home.

“It’s an opportunity for anyone in Waterville who is interested in moving into a new home to check it out. Not only check out what the house is like, but to see the work that the Waterville Community Land Trust is doing, with this being our first project house,” Dupont said.


The land trust bought the home in January for $35,000. The two-story home was built around 1900 and has three bedrooms and one full bathroom. In June, the land trust’s contractor, Maine Energy Pros, began renovations which included refinishing wood flooring, overhauling the kitchen, installing all-new appliances, adding a washer and dryer and installing an all-new half bathroom off the upstairs master bedroom. The list price for the home is $73,000.

South End residents Natasha and Zach Diekey checked out the open house Sunday and said they were impressed with the renovations.

“It’s amazing. It really is,” Natasha Diekey said.

For a young family — the Diekeys have a 1-and-a-half-year-old — the couple said it is often difficult to find homes for sale that they can afford that don’t require a lot of work to fix up. With more older homes in the South End, Natasha Diekey said it’s tough for young families who don’t have the time or resources to commit to fixing up a home just to bring it up to code or to meet the necessities that their families need.

“I love the South End. I love the people here, and I just want to make it a community that people want to be in,” Zach Diekey said.

“Especially in this neighborhood, I’m excited to see (the land trust’s work) to get young families here who want to be here because of places like this.”


Land trust president Ashley Pullen said the organization is interested in continuing to pursue projects in the South End for the time being before moving on to other neighborhoods in the city.

“We know that if we cluster our work together, there will be a more visible impact,” Pullen said.

The land trust is accepting applications for homeowners interested in purchasing the 181 Water St. property on their website, watervilleclt.org.


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