Rebuilding Exchange got most of the money it asked for from the Evanston City Council.

But not all of it. So, now, the nonprofit is in a race to get the rest of the money it needs to complete the organization’s dream of creating a trades training facility.

A luxurious bathtub marks the end of aisle three. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

On Monday, the Evanston City Council approved $1.2 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to support the group acquiring a building located less than two miles away from its existing headquarters at 1245 Hartrey Ave.

The group originally requested $2 million to buy and convert the 18,000-square-foot warehouse at 626 Hartrey Ave. into a training facility. Now, they are hustling to raise the $800,000 to buy the facility.

Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse is a lot more than a retail shop. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

The group sent this notice out Wednesday, Nov. 16: “This is a BIG step towards the creation of a new building trades training facility that will connect more people to living wage employment, provide more local employers with qualified workers, and increase the race and gender diversity of the building trades industry.”

It was followed by a list of all the things that can be purchased at Rebuilding Exchange. After all, it does sell historic building materials and repurposed appliances as well. And did they mention they do classes, too?

  • There is a fall sale from Nov. 16 to Nov. 28 with 50% off lighting and plumbing fixtures.
  • You can sign-up for a workshop from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Dec. 3 to make “scraptacular” ornaments or from 1 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 10 and make DIY sustainable gift wrapping. More information and sign up here.
  • At 6:30 p.m. Dec. 10 there is a fundraiser, Winter Lumberland, where people can do their “holiday shopping by browsing one-of-a-kind crafts from local vendors.” Early bird tickets can be bought before Nov. 21.
  • Or you can give money.

At the October Economic Development Committee meeting, Aina Gutierrez, the Rebuilding Exchange executive director, told members the Rebuilding Exchange’s mission “is to reduce building materials, reduce construction waste, and train, support and connect folks overcoming barriers to employment.”

The Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse is at 1245 Hartrey Ave. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

They think of themselves as having an employment solution with an environmental mission as well as a desire to increase the race and gender diversity of the building trades industry, she said.

Rebuilding Exchange crews take apart “houses by hand for recycling and reuse. And it serves as a training ground for our transitional employment workforce,” Gutierrez said. This year the group started a pre-apprenticeship program with classroom study and work in the field “to get folks into apprenticeship programs,” and they also “teach community members to repair and repurpose building materials.”

Susy Schultz

Susy Schultz is the editor of the Evanston Roundtable. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years, and is the former president of Public Narrative, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching journalists and...

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