The dozen shovels standing upright from the ground in Thursday's afternoon sun awaited some high-profile workers to finally dig into a long-awaited community project.
Community Recovery Resources broke ground on its Center for Hope, the first comprehensive residential drug treatment center in western Nevada County, on its 3-acre site at the corner of Sierra College Drive and East Main Street in Grass Valley.
The 37,000-square-foot, four-building facility will employ 40 counselors and staff to help an estimated 2,000 people annually to recover from substance dependence and related mental health disorders, according to a CoRR handout at Thursday's ceremony.
The project will be funded by a 40-year, $9.3 million federal loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It's completion is expected to take one year.
"This project started as a result of a lot of trials and tribulations for our community," said Warren Daniels, CoRR's executive director. "And this is a culmination of what a community can do together.
"There are many, many people here who played an intricate and special role in what is happening here."
CoRR has been serving the region since 1974 and grew in response to a 2005 grand jury report that described methamphetamine use had grown to an "epidemic" level, CoRR Development Director Ariel Lovett told The Union last fall.
A 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services study showed the region, including Nevada County, had the highest rate in California for those needing, but not receiving treatment for alcohol and illicit drug use.
Congressman Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, was among many governmental representatives on hand Thursday, including members of the Nevada County Board of Supervisors and the Grass Valley City Council.
McClintock said the USDA Rural Development loan for the project was approved based on its merits in a competition for funding.
"This is your victory," McClintock told the crowd. "This is funded, and will ultimately succeed, because this community wanted it and is 110 percent behind it."
Along with advocates for substance abuse treatment, western Nevada County's contractors are also behind the project, as it expects to hire about 400 local workers to complete 90 percent of the construction. That will result in approximately $6.8 million of the project's funding staying in the community, said Keoni Allen of Sierra Foothills Construction.
"We're honored to be selected for this important program for the community," Allen said, before bringing Daniel Swartzendruber of Tru-Line Builders to the podium.
"We have proven once again we're the best builders in the region. We brought this project in under budget."
The USDA Rural Development funding has also helped with three other projects in western Nevada County, said Anita Lopez, a USDA representative.
The Chapa De Indian Health Clinic, KARE Crisis Nursery and the Nevada County Food Bank have all received USDA support, Lopez said.
"We've all been or know someone impeded by addiction or abuse," Lopez said. "To have this center right here is going to be a tremendous asset for us.
"We know the Center for Hope will be a national model."
To contact City Editor Brian Hamilton, e-mail email@example.com or call (530) 477-4249.