‘One stop’ HCCAO site

The Highland County Community Action Organization (HCCAO) has opened a new building at 1300 Jefferson St. in Greenfield with all its programs under that one roof, according to director Julia Wise. She said prior to the new building, the organization had provided services in Greenfield for many decades in three different facilities.

“To address the physical co-location of services and no wrong door intake, the agency goal was to combine all three facilities (which HCCAO leased) in the village of Greenfield into one facility, while the new facility would allow for residents of the village and surrounding townships to access HCCAO services under one roof,” Wise said.

However, Wise said, people in need will still need to make a 40-mile round trip to Hillsboro for additional services such as Jobs and Family Services, mental health counseling, domestic violence and alcohol/addiction treatment. But she said the organization has space available where it can provide “online services on a rotating” basis, and that all the services that are currently operated in Hillsboro will remain there.

An open house for the new building will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 8. Wise said visitors will be able to tour the building and view the space where HCCAO will provide services and more space that is possible to lease.

She said the new facility is “one stop,” specifying that it allows families to bring their children to Head Start while also getting assistance from WIC or other HCCAO programs. Wise said people can also look for employment and “take additional training” through the Ohio Means Jobs office. Additionally, Wise said HCCAO is going to prepare over 150 home-delivered meals in the new facility that will be delivered to seniors across Highland County.

She said the new building has a central conference room named in recognition of Pat and Elaine Hays, due to their financial contributions to the building, that will be available for “local organizations to utilize for meetings.”

Wise also said additional wall space has been set aside to “recognize additional community partners and those individuals and businesses that make a specific financial contribution to the agency.” She said McClain High School art students did additional painting inside the facility to “showcase their talents.”

Wise said the organization had been looking at different facilities and open lots to renovate or build a new facility “which would address this disparity through the co-location of services” for “over 15 years.” She said none of them gave HCCAO the space or affordability that were needed to combine its services, but then the organization purchased a commercial building that was vacant for two-and-a-half years after closing in 2017.

She said there have been “numerous” roadblocks over the last three years, and that initial competitive bidding came in more than $500,000 above the organization’s estimate. She said HCCAO had to replace the roof, which “was not anticipated or budgeted,” and then the pandemic arrived, which Wise said caused contractor unavailability in materials and increased costs. She also highlighted the different organizations that helped fund the building.

“Merchants National Bank provided the construction loan and will provide the permanent loan as well,” Wise said. “HCCAO expresses deep appreciation to Merchants National Bank and Blain Bergstrom for the commitment to making this facility a reality. Wooden It Be Nice of Greenfield served as the general contractor with over 90 percent of all subcontractors being located within the community. HCCAO also expresses its appreciation to Wooden It Be Nice and all the subcontractors as they were patient throughout the process and were willing to make changes throughout the construction process as requested.”

Wise also said that the building HCCAO currently occupies 23,000 square feet of space, but that there is still 10,000 square feet available for lease. She said Wooden It Be Nice will serve as the general contractor for the renovations necessary to fill the empty space.

She said HCCAO wants to express its appreciation to the Greenfield Rotary Club and its local armory, which HCCAO has providing services through for more than 40 years.

Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.

https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2021/05/web1_communityaction.jpgPhoto courtesy of Julia Wise
Open house for Greenfield facility is Saturday

By Jacob Clary