Steamboat Springs LIFT-UP of Routt County is pursuing a grant to buy land and build its own 8,000-square-foot facility just west of downtown Steamboat Springs.
On Tuesday, Routt County commissioners agreed to sponsor the organization as it applies for a grant through the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.
If LIFT-UP is successful with the grant, it could receive $300,000 toward the $900,000 cost of the project. The remaining expenses could be funded with private donations and other grants, LIFT-UP Executive Director David Freseman said.
The proposed building would benefit LIFT-UP in a variety of ways, Freseman said. It would provide ample space for the organization's food bank, food bank office and storage, donation center, thrift store, administrative offices and more.
It also would provide a permanent home for the organization, he said.
"We've never truly had enough space for all of our programs," Freseman said. "Right now, our programs are scattered in three different locations."
Rent costs for the organization's three locations add up to a big chunk of money, he said. Those costs would be decreased drastically with a permanent home.
This project proposes buying a 1-acre lot on Curve Court across from Sears for $285,000, and then building a structure through Morton Homes for about $75 a square foot. But it is still very much in the planning stages, Freseman stressed.
LIFT-UP will apply by Dec. 1 for a Community Development Block Grant offered through the state, but if the grant does not come through, it will be "back to the drawing board," he said.
Finding a permanent home has been one of the organization's long-range goals since 2002, Freseman said.
Regardless of if, when and where Steamboat Springs' offices are moved, the organization will continue to keep open satellite offices in Hayden and Oak Creek, he said.
The county commissioners' sponsorship of the grant reaffirmed that LIFT-UP has established itself as an important nonprofit organization in the community, Freseman said.
Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said that by sponsoring the grant, the county is committing to keep the project moving forward if the grant is awarded.
"We think it's a good project. I'm sure that there is a need out there," Monger said.
He added that LIFT-UP accomplishes many of the things that the county's Human Services Department used to, so the program serves the county's purposes also.
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