A recent post on the Atlantic Cities blog touted the power of tool banks: places where costly tools can be loaned out at low cost.
Picture a massive shed stocked with shovels, rakes, power tools, wheelbarrows, ladders, water hoses, work gloves—even a tiller and a generator. Since opening last year, Charlotte’s ToolBank has equipped more than 11,000 volunteers at 500 different projects, lending tools with a combined retail value of $243,000 for only $7,200. It now provides 134 nonprofit agencies with tools.
That's in Charlotte, people of Boston. I'm a proud North Carolinian, but when you're talking urban innovations, I'd like to think Boston has a step up on the Queen City. The Boston area doesn't have any tool banks, according to Deb Beatty Mel of Boston Building Resources, which does rent or lend a small number of specialized tools to its members. (By the way, Boston Building Resources is a great place for getting help and materials for your home projects. It's located right on the Roxbury/JP line.)
Getting back to tool banks — the exact structure depends on the bank. In some, there's a membership fee. Others have a cost per tool that's a fraction of what you'd pay to own it yourself. Berkeley, Calif. — one of the first cities to start a tool bank — runs theirs through the public library.
The list of other cities that have embraced the tool bank model includes:
So c'mon Boston. Step up.