LIFT-UP prepares for opening

Nonprofit organization's new facility almost complete

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Jessica Kortas, left, and Sandy Buchanan assemble shelves at the new Lufkin LIFT-UP Center on Curve Court. The new facility will house LIFT-UP's donation and food centers, as well as its thrift store.

— LIFT-UP of Routt County will get its Christmas present a couple weeks early this year.

Construction on the nonprofit organization's new building on the west side of Steamboat Springs is nearing completion.

"It feels like a real successful accomplishment for all of us," said David Freseman, who has been the executive director of LIFT-UP for more than six years.

The 8,000-square-foot building will be twice as large as the space LIFT-UP currently uses at three separate Steamboat locations. Freseman said the organization hopes to open the food bank on Monday. The new donation center is scheduled to open Dec. 5, and the thrift store will open Dec. 6.

LIFT-UP's Hayden and South Routt locations will remain the same, but moving into a single building in Steamboat will lessen confusion and allow LIFT-UP to handle the demand from an increasing number of clients, Freseman said.

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.

The building, at 2125 Curve Court, will be called the Lufkin LIFT-UP Center, named after the agency's largest individual donor. To get to the new center, turn off U.S. Highway 40 at Cook Chevrolet and proceed straight for one and a half blocks.

"By car, bus or bike, it's really convenient," Freseman said.

On Tuesday, volunteers were busy assembling shelves in the new food bank. Adjacent to the food bank is a storage room.

"This storage area is as large as the old food bank," Freseman said during a tour of the facility this week. "It's pretty sweet."

Next to the food bank is a conference room, a break room for LIFT-UP's 60 volunteers and six staff members, and the new administration offices.

In the middle of the building is a large open area where the thrift store will be.

"We'll be able to provide an even larger variety of items," Freseman said.

Through double doors next to the thrift store is a room equal in size that will serve as the donation center. It is there that donations will be dropped off, sorted, organized and priced.

The total budget for the building was about $1.3 million. A local fund drive raised nearly half the money. A $285,000 Community Development Block Grant from the Department of Local Affairs was used to purchase the land. Grants from the Gates Family Foundation, The Daniel Foundation, Adolph Coors Foundation and the Boettcher Foundation contributed $380,000. Construction of the building started in March. An open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony is Jan. 10.

LIFT-UP is growing, but Freseman said it would take the continued cooperation of the city, county and local organizations to meet the demands of people who are trying to make a living in Routt County.

"LIFT-UP is not the only player in town, but we can certainly make a difference," Freseman said.

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