Eric Kurtz, a member of the Dryden Rotary Club, hammers in a shingle on top of the roof of one of the new houses that is being built on 1932 Slaterville Road on Aug. 31.

Eric Kurtz, a member of the Dryden Rotary Club, hammers in a shingle on top of the roof of one of the new houses that is being built on 1932 Slaterville Road on Aug. 31. 


Members of the Dryden and Cortland Rotary Clubs lent some helping hands in rehabbing one home and constructing a brand new home at 1932 Slaterville Rd. in Dryden on Aug. 31.

Evan Kurtz, a member of the Dryden Rotary Club, said he has been assisting with the construction of the properties since this past winter.

“I started in December. When they acquired this property, I helped gut the old house,” Kurtz said. “There are guys that come here much more than I do. The regular guys are a lot of fun to work with. I just show up once a week for three or four hours.”

Kurtz said he has prior experience constructing and renovating homes with his wife. Even though this is his first time working on a project with Habitat for Humanity, Kurtz said he has always been interested in the organization’s efforts.

“It’s a great program. I’m a huge fan of Jimmy Carter; best president ever,” he said. “He’s very involved with it for decades. It’s a good thing; it’s a good thing to do.”

The Tompkins County Habitat for Humanity (TCHFH) purchased the three acres of land back in December 2018. TCHFH received a variance from the Town of Dryden Zoning Board of Appeals in April of this year to subdivide three acres of land located on 1932 Slaterville Road into three separate one-acre lots. Two new homes are being built in two of the three lots, while the original house located on the third lot is being renovated.

The original house on the property will be a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home with more square footage than the two new homes, which will be ranch style with three bedrooms, one bathroom and an open kitchen area, totaling at about 1,100 square feet. The two new houses will not have full garages, but will have sheds to store a vehicle. The original house has a full garage, which will be renovated as well.

Since this past April, Construction Manager Chuck Newman said he and the rest of the workers have built a new foundation for the original home after discovering the original foundation was rotted out after being frozen over from too many winters.

“It’s a very, very solid house,” Newman said. “It’s just really incredible. But it did have some rot on the main plate down below, the big beams that are down there. So we had to reconstruct those a little bit.”

Newman also said the group finally found the main water line for the house, although they will not be able to use it.

“We’re not going to use it because it’s too close to our septic system,” he said. “We’re going to have to punch a well for this one.”

He said the goal is to finish the shingling on the roof of the new house that is currently being constructed and install all of the windows and doors in it so that people can work on the interior during the winter with a space heater. The construction of the other new house has yet to begin, though Newman said the digging for the foundation of that home should begin in the next couple of weeks.

Newman said he hopes to have all three houses completed in somewhere between two and three years. Regardless, the Town of Dryden is looking forward to having some affordable housing options in the near future.

“There’s not a lot of this type of housing coming in,” Ray Burger, Director of Planning for the Town of Dryden, said in an article for the Dryden Courier back in April. “A lot of the building we see is much larger. So having these smaller homes that have a lot of other ways of reducing their living costs by having shorter commutes and things like that, that’s what truly makes it affordable. It’s wonderful that we can bring in some of these projects.”


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