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Recycled Rockefeller Center Christmas tree wood used to rehab homes

New York’s most popular holiday attraction takes on a new life

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NEWBURGH — A group of volunteers is proving that a Christmas tree can live past the glitz of the holiday season through a project that is using recycled spruces to rehabilitate homes in Newburgh.

Habitat for Humanity for Greater Newburgh is using recycled wood from Rockefeller Christmas trees to refurbish a group of homes made for affordable housing in its community.

Four of the five homes on South Miller Street contain wood from the 2010, 2015 and 2016 Rockefeller Christmas trees used to prepare the homes in the re-building process.

"It is primarily used to help with blocking in the framing process and then there's a few other locations that it will go into. The nature of the wood, it doesn't allow for it to be load bearing walls, and that's why it's not used in the actual stud framing," said Cathy Collins, executive director of Habitat for Humanity for Greater Newburgh.

Each tree makes a truckload of 100 or more boards, all stamped with an image of the tree and the year it was on display.

Officials say it can cost up to $150,000 to rehab a home for affordable housing but buyers pay off the home with 30 percent of their income. Habitat for Humanity officials say they cover the rest of the cost through fundraising.

"I think it really helps spotlight the need for affordable homeownership opportunities and what Habitat Newburgh is able to do by having our homes anchor communities," Collins said.

Only one of the homes is occupied so far, but other families will be moving in before the end of the year.

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