December 28, 2006
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — The Counseling Service of Addison County (CSAC) is closing in on a $650,000 fund-raising goal as part of a $2.1 million plan to dramatically expand and renovate its mental health facilities in Middlebury.
As of last Thursday, CSAC had raised $491,000 during what had been the “silent phase” of its fund drive, launched more than a year ago. The agency received 125 contributions from area businesses and individuals, some of them in excess of $25,000.
“I’m just thrilled at what we’ve been able to do so far with this capital campaign,” said CSAC Executive Director Robert Thorn. “This was a huge goal for us, and I’m amazed at the response from the community.”
Weybridge resident Maggie Quinn is leading the agency’s public effort to raise the remaining $160,000 in local donations. Once the $650,000 goal is reached, CSAC officials will add that sum to an anticipated $150,000 in revenue from the sale of one of its properties; $500,000 in other agency resources; and $796,000 in borrowing, to generate $2.1 million for:
• Building a new office complex in Catamount Park off Exchange Street in Middlebury. The new, fully accessible building would provide adequate space for existing CSAC programs and emerging ones, such as its service for citizens with autism; and a large conference room.
CSAC already has a building within Catamount Park.
The new building — tentatively estimated to cost $1.6 million — would also accommodate CSAC’s Community Associates program. That program has outgrown its current space at 61 Court St., a former residence that is not completely accessible to the disabled. Counseling Service officials hope to sell the property to generate $150,000 to apply to the $2.1 million expansion and renovation project.
• Renovating and expanding the CSAC building at 89 Main St. The building, which currently houses the agency’s psychiatry and adult mental health services departments, contains only one fully accessible clinical office. Counseling Service officials said the space is so small that there is often a 60-person waiting list of people needing services, but who cannot be accommodated on-site.
Plans call or a $506,000 makeover of 89 Main St., a project that would result in four new offices accessible to people with disabilities; a large group room; a new records room; a new, more efficient heating system; and updated fire/sprinkler systems.
Provided financing comes together as planned, CSAC officials would like to see construction begin on the new Catamount building during the spring of 2008. Employees of 89 Main St. would then temporarily relocate to Catamount Park while their building is being renovated.
Quinn is busy mobilizing volunteers to make sure CSAC meets its $650,000 goal. Specifically, she’s been recruiting couples to lead fund-raising efforts in Bristol, Middlebury and Vergennes. As of last week, she was still searching for a couple to take the Middlebury assignment.
“I would like to see us raise the money within the next six months,” Quinn said.
She echoed Thorn’s enthusiasm about how people have responded to CSAC’s appeal for funds. The support, according to Quinn, demonstrates the value people place on the agency’s services, which touch approximately 2,000 Addison County residents each year.
“People have been wonderful,” Quinn said, adding, “if everyone gives a little bit, it works.”
To learn more about the campaign and how to donate to the cause, call CSAC at 388-6751.