VENETA, Ore — Veneta is celebrating the opening of the more than $2 million Fern Ridge Service Center.
Organizers say this project may have taken a year to build, but it was really a seven-year process and they’re so excited to open these doors to the city of Veneta and its surrounding community.
For nearly 40 years, Fern Ridge area residents have had access to a variety of social services under one roof at the Tony Garcia Service Center in Veneta.
“It’s an old building. It has served us well for many many years and it’s tired, and our community has grown substantially,” said Mid-Lane Cares President Pat Coy.
The building served more than 8,000 people with the help of more than 400 volunteers in an 1,800-square-foot space.
The desire to serve better and more people led to this center.
“I’m excited to see that a lot of people are going to be helped through this facility, and I think that’s great because again, I live here, I like it here, I intend to stay here. And now that I’m a senior citizen I can even come and enjoy the facility,” said Coy.
The new 7,400-square-foot space will house about five different programs dealing with food aid and senior services.
“Certainly, another important impact will be that it sort of anchors redevelopment here and revitalization our downtown,” said Veneta Mayor Sandra Larson.
Though some people admit the building’s completion isn’t the end of their work.
“It’s a real dream come true. I really wondered sometimes if we’d ever get here, and we’re all really excited to take the next step to grow and provide better service in the community,” said Larson.
Staff actually moved out of the old facility mid-summer to allow the school to get it ready for students this fall. Since then, they’ve been running their services where they can and are looking forward to settling into this new space.
A ribbon cutting will also be held on Saturday morning.