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Community center gets needed boost

SHADY COVE — The Upper Rogue Community Center has been awarded $150,000 to upgrade the building and expand its activities.

Of the 40 statewide grants announced last week by the Meyer Memorial Trust, the community center's grant is the only one in the Rogue Valley.

"It's really great news," said Steve Hauck, the center's executive director, who submitted his grant request last fall.

Hauck said the money will go toward the first part of a three-phase construction and remodeling project that will eventually produce a new two-story community building with 3,662 square feet of space. The new building will be directly behind the Shady Cove Library and connected to the original community center, which was constructed in 1982.

"That new building will give us more than double the space we have right now," said Hauck.

He said architectural plans have already been drawn and the next step is to prepare construction plans.

"In phase one we'll build the entire building, but we won't finish (the interior of) the second floor," he said. "We'll complete the first floor and also pave our dirt parking lot."

Hauck said phase two would finish the second floor and landscape the outside area, and the third phase would remodel the existing structure.

"That will bring the old building up-to-date and make it last a little longer," he said.

The Meyer Memorial Trust began operating in 1982 and has awarded $30 million to Southern Oregon nonprofit organizations. The Trust was established in the will of Fred G. Meyer, who opened retail stores throughout the Northwest and died in 1978.

Hauck said space for community activities is always a problem in Shady Cove, especially for youth programs, and he has more requests to use the center than he can accommodate.

"Right now we're limited in space and time for our after-school programs," he said, "and physically we can only handle 20 kids at a time.

"We could also bring in our summer day camp program that the school district has been nice enough to let us put on in the local middle school," he said.

Hauck said the Meyer award is a matching grant and noted the community center still has about $80,000 to raise for phase one.

"I'm working with other foundations and we also need to raise local money," he said.

Stanley Johnson, chairman of the community center's board of directors, said he's waited a long time to begin construction.

"We still have quite a few grant requests in," he said, "and I think we'll be able to get what we need. This is going to be a great boost for Shady Cove."

Hauck said he doesn't know when construction will begin, but he's looking forward to the project.

"It's good to know we finally have the beginning of this in sight," he said.

Freelance writer Bill Miller lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at newsmiller@yahoo.com.

Community center gets needed boost