You can see video on Rochester First and Wham 13!

Assemblymember Harry B. Bronson secures state funding to support SEAC’s

mobile tool lending and education program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                    CONTACT:

Mary McClelland

                                                                                                         585-244-5255 | mcclellandm@nyassembly.gov

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (August 23, 2023) — Assemblymember Harry B Bronson (D – 138) announced today that the Southeast Area Coalition’s (SEAC) Tool Shed received $75k in state funding to further their mission to provide access to tools and learning. With these funds, SEAC will be able to ensure operations to further their mission a broader outreach range and expand into additional parts of the city and county. The goal is to reach marginalized city and rural communities which historically have the greatest obstacles to access for tools to repair their homes, businesses, and cars, as well as to support community improvement and revitalization programs. This is one of the only programs of its kind in the region, and one of the only such programs in the nation.

Empowering residents to build and repair their neighborhoods will positively affect the economic and social stability of our Greater Rochester Area. SEAC’s Tool Shed provides access to not just tools and equipment but learning opportunities.

Assemblymember Bronson said, “The SEAC Tool Shed provides pivotal opportunities for our community. Tools are expensive, and lack of access can often be a barrier to accomplishing home repairs or neighborhood revitalization projects. The Tool Shed addresses those needs in Monroe County and the City of Rochester by offering a wide range of tools through a lending library, along with classes, material support and more. I am proud to have provided $75,000 through the State budget to expand this program. As Chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Economic Development, I see the myriad ways this tool shed will benefit our area – from community groups looking to clean up our streets, homeowners planning their next renovation, independent contractors who are missing a specific tool for a job, to apprentices who don’t own tools yet, but are learning their craft. It is small, convenient and innovative ideas like the SEAC Tool Shed that will have a continuous and lasting impact on our neighborhoods.”

“There aren’t many mobile tool libraries in the country, and we’re excited to be one of them!  Our goal is to remove obstacles like cost and transportation so people can repair, build, and maintain their homes and businesses,” said SEAC Executive Director, Mike Evans.  “Whether it is fixing the front steps or trimming trees and bushes, folks can finally get it done and feel good about it. And it only costs $25 for the whole year!”

In just its first year, SEAC’s brick and mortar lending and educational program on University Ave. has enrolled over 400 members from more than 40 zip codes in four counties, conducted dozens of free DIY tool and skill related workshops, and lent some 4K items from their growing power tool inventory.  This has already saved more than $200K for Greater Rochesterians who could not afford to buy or rent those tools or hire contractors, simultaneously diverting an estimated four tons of non-biodegradable tool waste from area landfills. 

“It’s hard to take a chainsaw or weed whacker home on an RTS bus,” said Tool Shed member Britney Quercia. “Now I can just walk it back to my place and return it two weeks later.

The mobile unit will make weekly scheduled stops at cooperating R Centers and community organizations, where Rochesterians are already coming daily for services and other resources like Foodlink’s Curbside Market. Anyone from the Greater Rochester Area can enroll, browse the inventory (on-line real time or in person), get advice and instruction, and register for DIY classes.

“Eventually, we hope to conduct some of those classes right there at the R Centers,” said Nick Wilbur, Tool Shed Coordinator. “Transportation is a big hurdle for a lot of folks. Bringing the tools to them where they already live, and work is a game changer. They can pick up the sander they wanted to use at the same time they’re picking up their kids.”

Classes will range from tool safety to financial literacy to installing deadbolts, electrical outlets, toilet parts and everything in between. They hope to offer an “M-Powering Women” series as well.

“The SEAC Tool Shed has already proven to be such an asset for our community,” said Assemblymember Bronson. “The mobile unit is the kind of innovative thinking we need to support our local economy. Thank you to Mike Evans and your entire team at SEAC for the incredible work you do in our community every day.” 

For more information on membership, please visit www.seactoolshed.org/membership. To learn more about the Tool Shed, please contact Kiki Smith, SEAC Outreach and Fundraising Coordinator: kirstyn@seacrochester.org | 585.721.2624

TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

###