Barbara Bashall: Building a stronger community one brick at a time |

Barbara Bashall: Building a stronger community one brick at a time

Barbara Bashall
Nevada County Contractors' Association members are in the process of building a patio to serve as a place for families living in the Habitat for Humanity Heritage Oaks community.
Courtesy of the Nevada County Contractors’ Association

Nevada County Contractors’ Association members appreciate the sense of community we all enjoy because we are fortunate to live and work in Nevada County. So it’s only natural that a half-dozen of our members went above and beyond to foster that sense of community within a very special neighborhood here in Grass Valley.

NCCA members are building an inviting patio that will serve as a gathering place for families living in the Habitat for Humanity Heritage Oaks community off Whiting Street.

“The Nevada County Contractors’ Association has been amazingly supportive of affordable housing in Nevada County,” said Lorraine Larsen, Habitat for Humanity executive director. “The NCCA provided the organization, design, and labor to create this beautiful space.”

Teaming up for a good cause

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When finished, the shared picnic area will be a place for families to meet, socialize, and even barbecue. It was designed by Elizabeth Poston of Living Outdoors Landscapes and Bob Zucca of Weiss Landscaping, Inc., with helpful input from many others.

“I think it is important to ‘Be the change you want to see’ and to model this for my 5-year-old daughter, showing that it doesn’t take much to make a big impact to your community,” said Poston. “To put it even more simply, it makes me feel good. It’s one of the easiest things to do for inner happiness. Enhancing the community I love so much for myself and others to enjoy makes me really, truly happy.”

Weiss Landscaping served as project manager, and also formed the concrete and helped install the planting and irrigation.

“We live in such an awesome community which gives so much to local businesses,” said Zucca. “Local businesses need to reciprocate with their expertise by organizing and running community projects. Community projects bring everyone together.”

DMCE Inc, concrete and engineering contractors, poured the concrete and contributed labor to place and finish the patio area. DMCE President Dave Matson is short on words but huge of heart: “As a native, it is my responsibility to give back to a community that has helped bless the success of DMCE.”

Another generous local company and NCCA member, Hansen Bros. Enterprises, donated sand, gravel, concrete, and labor.

“There are many reasons we like to give back to our community,” said Jeff Hansen, general manager and president. “For starters we want to support the people and businesses that support us. There are people in our community that are less fortunate than us or have fallen on hard times. If we can help these people get back on their feet, ultimately it will make Nevada County a better place and help people live better lives.”

Families helping Families

HBE Rentals, a division of Hansen Bros., has a long history of donating and discounting a wide variety of equipment to Habitat for Humanity projects: rotary hammers, concrete saws, compactors, tractors, forklifts, excavators, and aerial lifts. It’s no surprise the business was eager to lend a hand with this latest project.

“We are a locally-owned family business and feel strong ties to this community,” said Craig Arthur, facility manager at HBE Rentals. “We always try to help organizations such as Habitat for Humanity because they do so much to improve the lives of so many people around the world and locally.”

C&D Contractors has been involved with the Heritage Oaks community for years; it was the grading contractor that created the streets and lots for the subdivision. C&D President Charlie Faber was pleased to return to the project to help craft the picnic area.

“Habitat for Humanity serves a great need,” said Faber. “It is a fantastic organization that puts people into homes. I support what they do for our community.”

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the contribution of the Nevada County Association of Realtors, which provided volunteer labor and a grant that funded some of the materials purchased to create the patio.

‘Buy a Brick’

Finally, let me tell you about a way everyone can get involved in a unique Habitat for Humanity fundraiser. Commemorative bricks are being offered for purchase (, which will be engraved with the donor’s name and embedded in the patio in the shape of a home.

Every time they look at the design, the 16 families that live in the neighborhood will be reminded that their Nevada County community at-large supports them and their successful efforts to turn sweat equity into homeownership.

“We hope our ‘Buy A Brick Campaign’ helps us raise enough money to build an additional two more homes,” said Habitat for Humanity’s Larson.

And that’s what community is all about.

Barbara Bashall writes a monthly column for The Union. She is the Executive Director of the Nevada County Contractors’ Association, a nonprofit group of 320 general contractors, sub-contractors, building material suppliers, and other construction professionals whose mission is to promote high standards, integrity, and ethical practices within the construction industry. Visit or call 530-274-1919.

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