Saving Grace: Civic groups aid Grace Place renovation effort
The effort to move the St. Croix County Salvation Army Grace Place shelter into a former New Richmond nursing home building got a shot in the arm last week.
A coalition of 20 community members representing Grace Place, American Legion Post 80, the New Richmond Area Community Foundation and four area Rotary Clubs met at the building on West Eighth Street early Friday morning for a tour and project kickoff meeting.
Most of the volunteers in attendance were from four area Rotary Clubs: New Richmond, River Falls, Hudson Daybreak and Hudson Noon. Scott Wagner of Bremer Bank, a member of the Hudson Noon Rotary Club, organized the event.
“It seems like the kind of thing that Rotarians should be involved in,” Wagner said. “We’re providing clean water throughout the world, ridding the world of polio and providing better healthcare for women and children in poor areas around the world. Shouldn’t we be doing the same sorts of things here at home?”
Duana Bremer, director of social services for the Salvation Army in the St. Croix Valley, led the volunteers on a tour of the building at 505 W. Eighth St. that most New Richmond residents still call Maple Manor. Bremer shared plans to renovate shared bathrooms, install one or two shower rooms and spruce up a kitchen area and common room to provide cooking and computer classes.
Bremer also fielded questions about the facility, the work ahead and the fundraising effort required to make it happen. That’s where Paul Mayer comes in.
Mayer serves as vice chair of the New Richmond Area Community Foundation, and is acting as the campaign chairman for the Grace Place project fund. The capital campaign hopes to raise $200,000 by the end of March so that renovations can begin soon after the spring thaw.
“I have a very close connection to this building and the work that it has done,” Mayer said. “It has always done the work of the community. My grandmother spent her last days in this building, and my mom spent the last eight years of her life in this building. I have a vested interest in seeing it continue on its mission that it has always had.”
Mayer reported that nearly $80,000 of the $200,000 goal had already been collected and that an additional $40,000 had been “indicated, pledged or committed, depending on what level I’ve been able to twist arms.”The $200,000 fundraising goal will cover the $40,000 cost to install a new water pipe to the building to accommodate for a sprinkler system that must be put in to bring the building up to code. The sprinkler system itself will cost about $60,000. Another $40,000 or so will be required to create the shower rooms and renovate the bathroom spaces between rooms. The remaining balance will go toward updating the building’s security cameras, phone systems, air conditioning and general sprucing up, according to Mayer.
HOW TO HELP
Donate: The New Richmond Area Community Foundation has a fund set up for the Grace Place capital campaign. Learn more at nracfoundation.com.
Get your organization involved: Those who are looking to get their organizations involved in fundraising or volunteer work efforts can contact Scott Wagner at firstname.lastname@example.org.