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Volunteers Helping Renovate 1105 Project

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Volunteers in Iowa City spent Friday morning digging and planting at the 1105 project, a combined effort of four non-profit organizations in Johnson County.

They’ve spent the last year fundraising and applying for grants.

The building was renovated on the inside earlier this year, but the work still isn’t done.

Janelle Rettig isn’t used to driving around a huge machine. But Friday, that’s just what she did.

“I’m enjoying running the skid mower, I didn’t know how to run one before and I find that kind of fun,” said Rettig, a Johnson County supervisor.

She’s one of around 20 volunteers who spent their Friday morning making the 1105 project more like home.

“The last phase of those renovations is the outdoor site planning, so what we’re doing today, we’ve rounded up some volunteers and some staff,” said Adam Sullivan, the Johnson County Crisis Center communications coordinator.

The 1105 project houses the Free Lunch Program and three other agencies.

Every dig of the shovel is helping these agencies get food, counseling, and a sense of community to those who need it in the area.

“If we all help out, the quality of life in Johnson County will go up for everyone,” said Rettig.

The people helping Friday say that by cleaning up the outside of the 1105 Project, there will be a cleaner, nicer space for anyone who walks inside.

“That includes an herb garden out front so the Free Lunch program volunteers might be able to use some of the herbs for preparation of meals,” said Becci Reedus, executive director of the Johnson County Crisis Center.

And the Free Lunch program also will be saving some money. That’s because fruit, off trees that are being planted Friday, will eventually end up in the organization’s pantry.

As far as construction, the parking lot’s almost done.

“It’s going to be really lovely when it’s done, it’s going to just be the finishing touch on bringing an old building back to life in such a great way,” said Reedus.

Organizers say they hope to finish all landscaping and renovations by the end of summer.

If you’re looking to help with the 1105 Project, you can visit their web site at

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