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Spirit Center’s new lease on life

Spirit Peer Empowerment Center supporters will not let the mental health drop-in program die despite their building being up for sale.

Officials at the center on Gates Place in Grass Valley are just about to sign a new one-year lease, Spirit Center founder Lily Marie said Friday, but the spacious home could be sold out from underneath the program and its peers at any time.

The nonprofit center held an option to buy the house and 5 acres above Glenbrook Basin, but it lapsed May 15 when Spirit could not come up with the full $800,000 needed to complete the purchase.



Spirit had expected $100,000 from Nevada County through Mental Health Services Act funds toward the purchase.

But the money dried up when Behavioral Health Director Michael Heggarty said new state regulations would not allow the mental health act funds to be used in the purchase.




Meanwhile, “The owner is still interested in dealing with us,” Marie said.

“It’s important to keep searching for a new home for Spirit, but this is our first choice,” Marie said.

Spirit workers will now try to get grants to purchase the building or to find a new one, Marie said.

Peer counselors and clients have said many times that they enjoy the center’s location because of its peaceful, out-of-the-way location that still is close to the city and public transportation.

“They’re taking it in stride,” said Barbara Lindsay-Burns, chairwoman of the Spirit board and a peer counselor.

“They know we’re going to continue trying to get the building and keep the program going. It will be a lot of work, and we’ll do it,” she said.

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail dmoller@theunion.com or call 477-4237.


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