Church families come together in Carr Lane
Contractor fails to complete work on building, community steps up
Area residents and churches are coming together to help one of their own after a contractor failed to complete work on the Carr Lane Southern Baptist Church building in recent weeks.
Karen Pounds, one of about 30 church members and part of the building committee, said the church spent a total of $11,000 with a contractor to complete work like siding and concrete, but the contractor continued to ask for more money and eventually left the job unfinished and threatened a Pounds said church members sought the advice of Cassville Attorney Blake Fields, but found their legal options were more costly than beneficial and it would be better to just do the work themselves as time and manpower allowed.
However, Fields, area churches and the Lives Under Construction Boys Ranch were not having that.
"The Boys Ranch came out over the weekend and helped us pull down some siding that had been left up, and the pastor of a church in Golden has also been a wonderful help," Pounds said. "Three of us have gotten some of the new siding up on one side of the building and part of the front, and a couple of us were still working Monday. Different churches have said they'd come help, and Blake said he has a lot of people coming Tuesday."
Pounds said after all that has happened, the church members thought they were on their own, and the help has been an unexpected blessing.
"We are shocked," she said. "All of the sudden, people started calling and asking to come help. It's been an absolute blessing, and their amazing kindness shows how great the people of this community are. Volunteers have come and other churches have taken up donations for us. These are good, Christian people who have come out, and it's a bit overwhelming. I get to crying thinking about it because we thought we were all alone. We're a small church and we love it, and we can't believe the kindness of all the people who have come to help."
Still needing done are things like finishing the siding, replacing some shingles on the church's awning, insulation, painting, pouring a concrete handicap pad and adjusting the handicap ramp the contractor did not connect properly.
"We gave the contractor money for the concrete and labor, and he said he'd be back the next day but just packed up and left," Pounds said. "Our ramp needs fixed because there's a step that is at an angle and does not connect to the rest of the ramp, so people who use it have to go off the ramp onto the ground where there's a bunch of tree roots to get up to the next part of the ramp."
Pounds said the church had been making calls and checking listings for contractors to make bids to do the work, but they were having a hard time getting anyone to come because the church is in such a rural area.
"This contractor came out and we talked to him, and he seemed like a decent guy and we felt we could trust him," Pounds said. "He said he would do the project in phases, but he just kept asking for more and more money."
Pounds said the biggest red flag came when the contractor asked the church to pay for the concrete ramp up front, claiming it would be cheaper to but the concrete up front through the company he used.
"We had paid more than $3,000 already for that, and the day the concrete company was supposed to arrive, he said they were busy and he could not get a hold of them," Pounds said. "A few days later, he said they were for sure coming and asked for more money so he would be able to pay them. When we got the receipt from them, it had their number, so we called and asked them about the day the contractor said they couldn't make it, and they told us he had canceled the order that day."
After spending about $11,000 with the contractor, he left with work unfinished and threatened to put a lien on the church building.
"He took the majority of the siding off, except for what was really high up that he couldn't reach in the back," Pounds said. "He put some new siding on, but we had to take it off because it wasn't installed properly and would have voided our warranty on the siding. Parts weren't fully nailed in and would wobble when you touched it. We asked the contractor to come back out and talk to us to settle everything, and he said no and that he just wanted the money we owed him if we didn't pay in five days, he would put a lien on the building. We didn't owe him any money and have proof of that."
It was at that point church members went to Fields, and the caravan of volunteers were put into motion.
"We figured we'd just get things done as we could," Pounds said. "The help has been amazing and a true blessing."
Pounds said many people are expected to come work at the church on Tuesday, arriving at about 11 a.m. to noon. Anyone who wishes to help may come to the church, located at 9276 W. Hwy. 86 in Carr Lane.
"I don't know exactly how many people to expect, but I plan on feeding everyone," Pounds said. "I hope I have enough food."