Groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate new housing in Paoli

PAOLI – The public is invited to a groundbreaking celebration on Tuesday, September 7 at 10 a.m. at the site of a new model home at 729 E. Water Street hosted by the Paoli Housing Task Force.

Lost River Career Cooperative students from Orange and Washington counties, under the leadership of construction trades department instructor Jon Shellenberger, will construct the home with innovative insulated concrete forms that increase energy efficiency and reduce construction costs. The home will be sold to a private resident upon completion, and project leaders hope it will serve as a model for future housing development.

The Paoli Housing Task Force strives to build and renovate 25 homes by 2025 through partnerships with community organizations, developers and builders, financial institutions, and local, state, and federal programs.

The home’s design was led by Indiana University Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture, and Design faculty member Jon Racek and inspired by the work of his students in a partnership with Orange County residents through IU Center for Rural Engagement initiatives.

Like many rural communities across the state and nation, Orange County’s affordable and desirable housing stock is lagging behind demand. New housing stock has increased less than 2 percent between 2014 and 2019, the lowest percentage of Orange County housing stock recorded in U.S. Census data tracking back to 1939. With housing playing a critical role in resident retention and attraction, as well as workforce growth, the Paoli Housing Task Force is working in collaboration with the Orange County Economic Development Partnership, the Orange County Community Foundation, and the Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement to address local housing needs.

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