As of November 14, the Tool Library launched!!! It’s so exciting to get this project off the ground in collaboration with our neighbors!

For the past few years, our various interns have researched tool management software and how other tool libraries around the country operate. Then we brought the research to our own backyard by putting out a survey to the neighborhood. This survey gave the neighborhood a chance to give input and helped us understand how we can make the Tool Library a useful resource. Next,  tools were inventoried and given a home in the red garage behind our intern houses. Thanks to our summer intern Isabel for building our initial inventory and to First Reformed Church for helping with this huge task! First Reformed also helped build a second garage right next to the formal Tool Library garage. For now, this second garage will be a space to repair tools, store new donations & larger tools (lawnmowers, snowblowers, etc.) and give us a bit of general storage.

Over the summer, our neighborhood leadership team started to form and continues to iron out details. The skills on this team are diverse, including:  graphic design and marketing, technology, and tool/construction expertise. One trend we’ve noticed is the names of those on the team: John, Jon, John, Jon, Jon, Jaunine, Chuck, & Kevin.

During the fall, the Emmaus Scholars from Hope College spent a day preparing the yard and chipped away at getting the garage ready for our grand opening. We’ve enjoyed collaborating with this group for yet another project and getting to know the new cohort of students! In addition to their consistent weekly work on the properties, the fellas of the Friday crew are helping engrave and organize the tools in addition to helping keep track of the donations that keep rolling in.

We also got the word out with flyers with the help of our friends at All Saints Anglican Church, Pillar Church, and the Emmaus Scholars Program. This took a lot of time and we are so grateful the joyful time they put into this!

The hard work from everyone is greatly appreciated and needed to support this project. Seeing all this background work come to fruition–we overjoyed! In the almost 3 weeks that the Tool Library has been up and running, we’ve already seen new relationships form, great conversations occur, and needed tools lent. One of our first members used her membership to borrow a wheelchair (yes, we have those too!). We look forward to how the Tool Library will continue to grow. Saturdays from 10am-2pm stop by and check us out!

Have you heard? Our second intern house is nearly finished!! All summer, the faithful Friday Crew and many others worked tirelessly to finish large projects like flooring installation and window replacement as well as smaller projects like trim work and painting. Hope students, 3sixty interns and board members, and Wolthuis family members from the youngest to the oldest came out to work on the house this summer. In early August, we passed a whole host of city inspections and were granted occupancy! After the bigger projects were done, we moved in furniture, curtains, and appliances giving them a proper home. We would like to thank everyone who donated these items over the last few years. If you check out the pictures, you might be as shocked as we are that this furniture, from so many different sources, came together so well! Ladies from First Reformed Church added some extra special touches by sewing and hanging curtains in each room of the house. Special thanks to Homecor for donating funds to dress up the front porch! We are very thankful for volunteers that continue to finish exterior siding and the project punch list.


As this project comes to a close, be on the look out for the latest happenings on the Petrino’s and the Tool Library projects!

Over the week of June 15-19, we partnered with First Reformed Church in Holland to build, primarily, the second tool lending garage.  The vision for the two garages, as of now, is that the red one will be the “front of house,” where tools will be checked in and out and most will be stored.  The new garage will serve as intake, repair shop, and storage for materials and larger items.

These people worked hard!  In addition to being a joyful and willing group, no volunteer injuries were sustained and many, many projects were completed:

  • Curtains for both 444 College and 448 College
  • Landscaping both houses
  • Beautification of neighborhood corners
  • Siding both 444 and its new garage
  • Interior trim and painting at 444
  • Building a garage from the ground up
  • Organizing and performing a partial inventory of tools for the new library
  • Constructing a deck at the back door of 448
  • Putting on a Party in the Park at Rosa Park Green
  • Playing pool and eating Petrino’s Pizza at Golden 8 Ball

Many, many thanks to the hands, hearts, minds, and contributions of everyone involved!  The new garage is already housing donated cabinets, which will be protected this coming Monday by a donated garage door.  We are so grateful for Andy Krino for the cabinets and Compaan Door & Operator Co for the garage door.



Hello again! Thanks to significant volunteer help, we are making a lot of progress on the second intern house! Painting, trim, countertops, and installation of cabinets, stairs, and doors have been our latest projects. We are just about ready to start on the siding, so you may not recognize it if you close your eyes for too long!

upstairs trim     

In addition to working on the second intern house, we have begun exterior renovations of the Petrino’s building (16th & River). So far we have been able to replace the front windows and begin work on siding, and we are really pleased with the progress! Stop by for a slice of pizza (or a whole pie for the family) at Petrino’s and take a look at what we’ve done so far. Much more to come on this project—we’ve applied for a substantial grant from the CFHZ, so we are hoping that this additional funding will enable us to make more construction dreams come true!

Since our last update we have demolished the old garage and set the block for the new garage behind the second intern house. This second shed will house the tool library, projected to launch this summer. First Reformed Church will be “Keeping it Local” this summer with an intergenerational mission trip in mid-June with us! We are looking forward to working with this great group of people and making some exciting progress on College Ave. If you haven’t filled out the survey about the library yet, please take two minutes here: SURVEY

Four of the Eighth Day Farm interns, plus Isabel, our summer intern, have moved into the first intern house and are loving the neighborhood! In the coming weeks, there will be a deck on the back porch-we’d love to have you join us!

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