Shoe on the shovel and dirt in the air marked the groundbreaking of the new facility for the Heart of Grant County’s domestic trauma service center in John Day.
The new center, the Meredith House, will feature improved privacy to talk to victims, a conference room to have more group activities in a private settings and the capability to house up to two to three families. Previously, they could only house up to one person.
“There is a need here, and I know a lot of people don’t want to recognize it, but some of the stuff that goes on here, the domestic violence, the sexual assault and the human trafficking is all here,” said Heart of Grant County Director Beth Simonsen.
A goal of the organization is to educate people about abuse and build healthier relationships to prevent it.
Kirk Borgerding from CB Construction Inc., a general contracting company based in La Grande, said the team hopes to officially start construction on Sept. 14 and finish the project by early May.
COVID-19, the weather and materials are some factors that could impact the timeline, but the team has until September 2021 to get the project finished for the grant requirements.
The federal Community Development Block Grant is the main source of funding for the project, awarding $1.5 million, said Heart of Grant County Board Member Rick Minster.
The Heart of Grant County provided a $15,000 match for the CDBG grant.
“We’ve had to come up with some match money, but the majority of this project is going to be completed by those funds,” Minster said.
Minster said it’s great to experience the groundbreaking after years of work getting to this point.
The grant was awarded to Grant County, which sponsored the nonprofit application. Grant County Judge Scott Myers said he congratulates the Heart of Grant County for the groundbreaking and is happy for the new location of the trauma center.
“The location it was in was not safe or secure necessarily, being right on the highway,” Myers said. “This will be a much safer location, and it is a needed facility.”