Lake Club volunteers put stock into Habitat for Humanity's effort in Sarasota County.
By 7:30 a.m. any Tuesday morning, the sounds of hammers pounding and saws grinding will permeate the air from a construction site on Hammock Place Road in Sarasota.
There, several new homes are under construction in Habitat for Humanity Sarasota’s new Hammock Place community — the first deed-restricted, gated Habitat community built in Sarasota.
In December, Lake Club residents and employees of Stock Development — the primary builder in the Lake Club — joined forces to build a Habitat home together. Stock Development has sponsored the home, contributing $115,000 as well as a minimum of 200 man hours. The labor is where the Lake Club residents play a role.
They turn out Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for whatever tasks are required that day.
“They see it’s something they can personally put their stamp on,” said Lake Club resident Jay Traverso, who volunteers with his wife, Marybeth Traverso. “People are really excited to do the work. There’s something about knowing you were there to help transition peoples lives from where they were to where they are going to be.”
Jay Traverso coordinates Lake Club’s crew and oversees the construction. He said one Habitat home recipient — a couple with four children — went with dirty running water for nearly two years as they waited for their Habitat home.
He said some volunteers want to put up walls and swing hammers, while others prefer to paint or install flooring. The build project caters to them all, so Traverso is able to make sure any resident who wants to volunteer has an opportunity at some point during the project.
Stock CEO Brian Stock met with Jay Traverso in 2016 when Stock acquired the remaining lots in the Lake Club from Lakewood
Ranch developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch. In 2018, Traverso invited Stock and other builders to a breakfast meeting for the launch of Hammock Place. There, Traverso learned Stock had partnered with Habitat in Naples and asked, “Why not here?”
He learned that although Stock had the financial ability for the partnership, it could not fulfill the requirement for volunteer hours. Its operation in Naples was much bigger with more employees, but staffing in the Lakewood Ranch area was more limited.
Traverso came up with an idea. Lake Club residents could supply the man power, and Stock could fund the project. Brian Stock agreed, and the partnership started on its first home in March 2019.
Lake Club resident Stephanie Lang, who helped during the initial Dec. 3 build date, said she loved participating.
“We’re got a lot of people who are inclined to volunteer, and this [project] had a particular appeal,” she said. “We’re providing homes for people who are not as advantaged as we are, and we get a great sense of satisfaction. It’s a great organization.”
Cameron Rahe, the president of construction for Stock Development, helped install insulated concrete forms, used for walls, at the site. The foam forms are set up like walls with a gap in the middle, and then concrete is poured inside. Once dried, the concrete forms walls ready to withstand Category 5 hurricanes. It’s a different construction method than the one used by Stock.
“We’re unskilled labor [here],” Rahe said. “We show up, and we go to work.”
“It’s important we are contributing members of the communities we live and work in,” he added.
The home now under construction is the third sponsored by Stock Development in 2019 in Hammock Place. Stock employees and Lake Club residents started two others in March 2019 and finished both in June 2019.
Renee Snyder, the president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Sarasota, said that such partnerships are important for building relationships and bringing awareness to Habitat’s mission to provide affordable housing in the community.
She said volunteers enjoy working alongside Habitat home recipients, sharing stories about their lives.
“The diversity of what everyone brings to our build site and to our mission is so important,” Snyder said. “It’s diversity in areas of talent, personality, desire to help others. It’s another layer of how their partnership benefits habitat. We depend on the community. Without the community, we cannot build houses.”