All of LIFT-UP of Routt County's Steamboat operations soon will be under one roof.
On Thursday, the nonprofit organization breaks ground on a new building that will house its food bank, thrift store, offices and donation center.
The building will be called the Lufkin LIFT-UP Center, named after Don Lufkin, the agency's largest individual donor. David Freseman, LIFT-UP's executive director, said the name honors Lufkin for his substantial contributions to the agency and for his help with initiating the project.
Because the new building and the property it will sit on are paid for, Freseman said he hopes to divert some of the money LIFT-UP would have spent on rent to increase client services.
In 2005, LIFT-UP had 3,239 client visits. The organization provides emergency assistance, including food, clothing, lodging, fuel, transportation, prescription medications, rent, mentoring programs and referrals, to low-income residents.
To handle the increasing number of clients it serves, LIFT-UP's new building will be twice as large as the space it now uses.
Freseman said the building, at 2125 Curve Court, is crucial to the growth of the agency for several reasons.
"The cost of rent and the fact that the thrift store and food bank would sooner or later not be available to us," Freseman said. "We needed to consolidate everything in one place."
Having three Steamboat locations has been difficult, labor intensive and confusing to the community, he added.
"It is important to have one central, permanent location where everyone knows where to go," Freseman said.
LIFT-UP's Hayden and South Routt locations will remain in place.
The total budget for the building project is $1,311,216. A local fund drive raised $665,733. A $285,000 Community Devel--opment Block Grant from the Department of Local Affairs was used to purchase the land. Grants from the Gates Family Foundation, The Daniel Foun--dation, Adolph Coors Foun--dation and The Boettcher Foun--dation contributed $380,000.
The building is expected to be built within six to seven months.
The public is invited to Thursday's groundbreaking, during which there will be a brief ceremony.