|Jul 28, 2011 --
Outline of Need:
In the three decades since Interstate 70 by-passed Green River, Main Street business has virtually disappeared. The related job losses and out-migration seemed to suggest continued decline until the once thriving community would become a mere memory.
How Rural Development Helped:
The Epicenter used a Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) to fully renovate a boarded up 105-year-old building with AmeriCorps VISTA and NCCCs doing the actual work on the building, including a replacement foundation, new roof, and new façade.
Nowadays, this small community 100 miles west of Grand Junction, Colorado is the last gas stop for westbound travelers before Salina, Utah 110 miles away. The town is near the take-out point for river trips on the section of the Green River known as Desolation Canyon – desolation may characterize the place for visitors not fortunate enough to become acquainted with the energetic folks who work with Green River PACT and the Epicenter
The revitalized old Baxter Building now serves as an outreach office for circuit riding representatives of Utah’s Workforce Services, USDA Rural Development and other state agencies providing assistance to the local population. The building also houses an amazing variety of business services including financial services, graphic design, business planning, housing design (including the design and construction of a Habitat for Humanity project).
The Epicenter works with the community to help employ those who need assistance. The Epicenter is comprised of citizen architects and designers ready to serve others and use their talents as a way to make real changes with real effects. Volunteers offer training to aid families who need financial support and help gain the experience to secure or seek employment. The Epicenter works with local contractors and educates local builders on the importance of building efficiently and implementing sustainable designs. The Epicenter invites community members for their input throughout the various design phases of the projects. All of this assures a sense of pride and ownership in helping to build one’s community.