With faux gold shovel in hand, REACH board member Don Young ceremoniously dug into a pile of dirt placed in front of the complex Thursday morning, kicking off the ground-breaking of a $1.3 million project to renovate the wood mill manufacturing and recycling facility on Maywood Drive.
Attendees, including representatives from the Klamath County Chamber of Commerce, gathered to celebrate with REACH board members and Ron Moe, executive director of REACH, Inc.
REACH provides work, rehabilitation and training for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment through its mill and recycling programs. A fire devastated its recycling program in Klamath Falls a few years ago.
There are 120 REACH participants and 65 staff. Over the next five years, Moe hopes to double both the number of participants and staff.
The facility upgrades are being made possible as part of a $6.75 million New Markets Tax Credit in cooperation with Craft 3, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) lender that is also looking for a space to open a branch in Klamath Falls.
“Outside of a New Markets Tax Credit deal, it would be hard to finance this type of deal through traditional financing sources,” said Turner Waskom, senior vice president and commercial lending team manager at Craft 3, who attended the ceremony on behalf of the company.
“In this way, not only is there an economic benefit, but there’s also a benefit to REACH. The financing has also been a little bit cheaper than even traditional financing and the project can get done.”
Facility upgrades, to be conducted by Diversified Contractors, include new exterior paint, outdoor landscaping and restructuring, resurfacing and re-striping of the parking lot as well as new equipment and LED lighting for the building’s interior. The project will allow REACH to add more staff and provide services to more members of the community.
The funds will also help the firm buy the Maywood Drive and Washburn Way facilities, allowing them to take ownership of operations and complete planned upgrades by Jan. 1, according to Moe.
National Community Investment Fund provided the tax credit for REACH, Moe said, which were purchased by Capitol One Bank.
ZCS Engineering provided architectural planning and assisted in obtaining city and county permits on the project during the past two-and-a-half years, Moe said.
“We look forward to their finished product,” Moe said. “However, this product is not about buildings and property. It is being undertaken so that REACH will have a springboard toward providing more and better paying jobs and increased services.
“It is our hope that it will pave the way for additional partnerships with other local agencies and companies and help make Klamath Falls a better place for us all.”
Moe also acknowledged REACH founder Zelda Langdale for her contributions to the community, as well as the entire REACH board.