Village tour of homes to benefit Bethlehem House

By Tammy Keith Published November 22, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.
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Tammy Keith / River Valley & Ozark Edition

The kitchen and dining room pictured are in the home of Randa and Gary Adams in The Village at Hendrix. Seven other homes featuring different architectural styles will be on tour Nov. 30 through Dec. 2 for the Bethlehem House Holiday Tour of Homes to help the homeless shelter reach its capital-campaign goal to build another facility. Tickets are available at several locations, including the Kitchen Store & More and Ye Olde Daisy Shoppe, both in downtown Conway, and all First Security Bank locations.

— When Beth Tyler suggested to residents of The Village at Hendrix that a holiday open house be held to benefit a charity, the name of the same nonprofit organization kept coming up: Bethlehem House.

That’s exactly what Tyler was thinking.

“The idea just came to me,” Tyler said of the tour. “We thought that a tour of homes and the fact that Bethlehem House is trying to finish off its capital campaign for its new home were really a nice pairing,” Tyler said. “So many support [the homeless shelter] already.”

It’s the first neighborhood tour, she said.

Eight homes in the development, east of Harkrider Street, will be on the Bethlehem House Holiday Tour of Homes.

The tour will kick off with a preview party from 6-8 p.m. Nov. 30 and continue on Dec. 1 and 2.

“We’re going to have elaborate, decadent holiday treats and live music,” Tyler said.

The refreshments will be at the Welcome Center, 1040 Reynolds Ave., and the band Comfortable Brother will perform.

Tyler said another unique aspect to the tour is that other nonprofit groups in the city, including the Independent Living Services choir, will perform during the tours. Residents with musical talents may play on porches or inside the homes, she said.

Tickets to the event’s Preview Night are $30 and allow participants to attend the tour the other two days, from 1-5 p.m. Dec. 1 and from 1-4 p.m. Dec. 2. Tickets for Dec. 1 and 2 are $10 in advance or $15 at the door.

Nov. 29 is the deadline to purchase tickets in advance, Tyler said.

They can be purchased at the Welcome Center in The Village at Hendrix, Ye Olde Daisy Shoppe and the Kitchen Store and More, and at all First Security Bank locations.

Bethlehem House, which is nearing the end of a $1.3 million capital campaign to build a home at 1115 Parkway Ave., has until Dec. 31 to raise $15,000 more to receive matching dollars from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation and the Wingate Charitable Foundation. Also, Modern Woodmen of America plans to match the proceeds of the tour up to $2,500.

“We hopefully can help them cross the line to have the full money for their home,” Tyler said.

A groundbreaking was held in August on the property, and Nabholz Construction is the general contractor.

“It was their idea,” Bethlehem House Executive Director Judi Lively said of The Village, “and we’re very excited about that for lots of reasons. It’s great to be recognized by them, and we are so close to finishing this campaign; we need to get it done within the next six weeks. I really believe it will happen.

“I think we’ve come so far that in many ways, it’s surprised me, and I said this at the groundbreaking, but I really do believe this is the house God built and that he’s using this town, this community, to do so. And I think it’s the right town.”

The current shelter on Faulkner Street is literally falling in. The leg of a bed fell through the floor of the 100-year-old Victorian home at one point. The floors, the walls, the roof, the exterior — all are creaking, peeling or falling apart, Lively said. She said squirrels are in the attic, and they occasionally show up in the house; a stream of plumbers hasn’t been able to solve the leak in the bathroom.

The kitchen is tiny — built for a single family — and can’t accommodate the shelter’s needs, Lively said.

The current facility can house 20 residents; the new shelter will accommodate 35 residents, plus have two emergency beds, Lively said.

She said operational giving is down, but she is optimistic that the Bethlehem House Holiday Tour will be a success.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to look at some beautiful homes and just support a good organization while you do so,” she said.

The following homes will be on the tour:

• The Newton home at 1105 Burrow Ave.;

• The Sutherland home at 1045 Burrow Ave.;

• The Adams home at 935 Burrow Ave.;

• The Charleston model home at 845 Reynolds Ave.;

• The Howse home at 920 Reynolds Ave.;

• The Hipes home at 930 Reynolds Ave.;

• The Village Welcome Center at 1040 Reynolds Ave.; and

• The Siegel home at

1050 Reynolds Ave.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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