Broomfield, a community of 67,000 near Denver, possesses a unique woodshop. At first glance you might think it could be anyone's garage or basement setup. But this shop occupies a room in the city's Community Center and is open for use by anyone in the city.
The shop began more than 30 years ago with five local woodworkers who donated their time and tools. Any profits they made from the pieces they built were put right back into the shop in the form of tools and supplies.
It wasn't long before the city recognized the benefits of a community shop. Broomfield includes the shop's upkeep in the city budget and in return, woodworkers contribute many projects to the local library, board of elections, veterans museum, and police headquarters.
Volunteers using the shop commonly repair furniture for local residents. But residents can also work on their own projects. Several supervisors ensure that each person receives thorough training on the safe use of the equipment, and everyone who uses the shop signs a liability waiver. Supervisors are always available to assist when needed. Users thoroughly clean the shop every day.
Local companies often donate supplies for the shop. Hardwood vendors provide off-cuts and seconds at no charge, which the shop stores in outbuildings.
The shop's small space requires efficient layout and storage for tools and supplies. It can accommodate 4×8' sheet goods, and there's ample room to maneuver around equipment. Many supplies and smaller tools are stored in adjacent rooms.
Dr. Joseph Marr, one of the shop's long-time supervisors says, "The projects and personal interactions have made the woodshop an integral part of this community."