House raffle would benefit San Mar

December 30, 2007|By ARNOLD S. PLATOU

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Like to buy a fully-restored farmhouse on 3.2 acres, surrounded by loads of natural Washington County beauty, for just $100?

Karen Crawford, Dennis Kelly, Cynthia Moler and San Mar Children's Home are hoping thousands of you will.

Homeowners Crawford and Kelly, and Realtor Moler have teamed up with San Mar to raffle off the Big Pool-area house - now valued at $390,000 - by selling chances for $100 each.

After paying expenses, which include paying for the house, organizers hope to raise more than $100,000 for San Mar.

"We would be foolish not to embrace this opportunity that has presented itself to us," said Bruce Anderson, executive director of San Mar.

The raffle also is a unique way to sell the house, which, Crawford said, she and her husband, Kelly, put on the market for $425,000 a year and-a-half ago, but haven't been able to sell.


They blame the nationwide housing crisis.

"We had six couples interested in the home, but when they went for financing, we never heard any more," Crawford said. "People could not get the money.

"Once that whole housing thing went down, a lot of young couples were blocked out. We had showings every weekend and we couldn't get a buyer. It's part of what's happening today."

A very good cause

So when Crawford saw a Herald-Mail story last year about a Midwestern farmer offering his place to the winner of an essay contest that had a $100 entry fee, she got excited. So, too, did her new Realty agent Moler, who took over the listing this past fall.

"I love the idea," Moler said. "... This is going to sell their house - and it's going to raise a lot of money for San Mar. It's a very good cause."

Moler said the raffle, which she said has been approved by a Maryland gaming authority, is offering a total of five prizes.

Moler said the house will go to the grand-prize winner. The house, at 13607 Indian Springs Road, has four bedrooms, three baths and a great room with a stone fireplace, sits next to a trout stream and is near Whitetail Resort, she said.

She said second prize is a 2008 Toyota Camry, the third prize is a handmade Persian rug, the fourth is furniture and the fifth prize is $1,000 cash.

Enough raffle tickets must be sold to pay for the house as well as the car and the furniture - which are being offered to raffle organizers at a discount by Younger Toyota and Statton Furniture Co., respectively, and the $1,000 cash, Moler said. The rug was donated earlier to San Mar, which is giving it for the raffle.

Moler is hoping to sell thousands of tickets beyond those costs so that more than $100,000 can be given to San Mar.

"I want to sell at least 6,000 tickets ... and we'll still make almost $200,000 (for San Mar)," she said. "If they sell 7,000 ... they'll make almost $300,000."

Moler said she is most excited about that aspect. She said she was inspired by a recent visit to San Mar, a home near Boonsboro for 41 girls.

"San Mar exists today to provide structure, nurture and opportunity to help kids become productive members of society tomorrow," Anderson said.

"Kids come from Social Services and Juvenile Services (agencies)," Anderson said. "We have three group homes, a shelter, a school, foster care for both boys and girls, and we're a licensed adoptions agency."

A win-win situation

Crawford, a native of Hagerstown and a longtime Washington County teacher, said she and her husband bought the house just two years ago.

Built in 1929, the house is surrounded by 1,500 acres owned by the Western Maryland Hunt Club, of which her husband is a member, she said.

But after completely restoring the house, Crawford said, the couple decided it wasn't really best for them.

"It's a beautiful house, but, believe it or not, it's a two-story house and we want a one-story house," she said. "We're getting ready to retire ... We need a one-story. We discovered that the hard way."

Now with the raffle a reality, Crawford said, "We're hoping that we can go on the upbeat side of this that this could be a home for someone who ordinarily couldn't afford that home, that this would be for a good cause. Plus, San Mar is going to benefit. It's a 'win' situation."

And, she said, whoever is the grand-prize winner "will be getting a house and three acres for $100. It's a one-in-7,000 chance, which is better than the lottery."

Anderson said the San Mar board agreed to the idea after Moler approached them with it and said she would handle all of the arrangements.

San Mar's board has committed to the development of a multipurpose center "to more effectively serve the youth in care," Anderson said. "These funds would most likely be directed toward helping that project get under way."

He said such a center could include a gymnasium, classroom and housing for up to 40 girls - including 20 now living in an older building on San Mar's campus. If built today, the center could cost as much as $4 million, he said.

Answer to a prayer

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