A $2 million grant will help the city of Grass Valley refurbish some of its Gold Rush-era sewer lines and will rehab the aging LOVE Building in Condon Park to better meet its original function of serving the community’s needs.
Grass Valley received $400,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding to create a new community center at the LOVE Building, said Economic Development Coordinator Jeri Amendola on Friday.
“Specific improvements will result in improved access to the building and a new commercial kitchen, which will allow Gold Country Community Services to provide meals and services to community members, especially our seniors,” Amendola said.
“It needs energy efficiency, some handicap access; it needs a commercial kitchen so it can meet heath and safety code standards,” she added. “The bathrooms need to be upgraded to be handicap accessible. It’s all in support of Gold Country Community Services (which leases the building) having the opportunity of having a home to offer their services for the community. It will be a coordinated effort.”
While the city of Grass Valley owns the building, Gold Country Community Services assumed responsibility for operating it in January.
Gold Country Community Services has been without a centralized location since 2007, when it lost its lease at the fairgrounds, said Executive Director Sandy Jacobson.
The organization was initially founded in 1976 as the Senior Citizens Foundation of Nevada County, and one of its initial primary goals was to build a senior center. The group was forced to move after its 25-year lease expired, the rent was increased and negotiations to remain proved unsuccessful, Jacobson said.
“We wanted to become more of a community center,” Jacobson said of the decision to change the name to reflect a broader base of services.
The organization remains best known for its nutrition program, providing Meals on Wheels to homebound seniors and lunch five days a week in the dining room at the Nevada City Senior Apartments on Old Tunnel Road in Grass Valley. It also runs a program that provides free firewood to low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities, as well as a variety of classes centered around fitness.
The $400,000 grant to rehab the LOVE building — which currently only hosts some of the exercise classes — is “very exciting,” Jacobson said.
“Our operation has been de-centralized,” she said. “Now we can improve and expand, which means we can provide more services.”
Jacobson said the LOVE building — the acronym stands for Local Organized Volunteer Effort — was built for the community by the Lions Club in 1979.
“The fun thing about this grant … is that we can finish their vision,” she said.
Jacobson said the grant will modernize the space and make it a more appealing venue.
“One key aspect is to make it more accessible,” she said. “We also plan to add more parking — everyone will love that. It’s truly a much-needed upgrade. We’ll be replacing doors and windows, adding a new HVAC system and insulation, replacing the deck, the flooring and the lighting.”
Jacobson estimated the work could take two years, adding, “We’d like to see it done sooner — everyone so misses having a senior center.”
Grass Valley also was awarded $100,000 for technical assistance and planning studies, and $1.5 million for public infrastructure improvements, Amendola noted.
The $100,000 provides funding for the city to complete its first-ever Comprehensive Economic Development Strategic Plan, she said.
“It’s an action plan for the city, it becomes a policy document. Many jurisdictions have taken this to be a part of their general plan, as well,” Amendola said. “They can look at long-term goals and objectives that will promote economic development for the community.”
The largest share of the grant, $1.5 million, will go to reline portions of the city’s sewer collection lines in the downtown area.
These upgrades will improve the outdated and failing collection system, wood and mortar construction of years past, which can cause serious health and safety concerns, Amendola said.
“They date back to the Gold Rush, some of them,” she said. “They’re over 100 years old.”
According to Amendola, instead of digging up the lines, they will be relined with a product that will eliminate leaks and spilling.
“It’s a more efficient method of improving the (sewer) system,” she said.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.