Hope, healing, recovery

CFR breaks ground on new facility; new home for recovery services slated to open in 18 months

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Michelle De La Riva, executive director of CFR, speaks at the agency's groundbreaking for its new facility Friday morning to the gathered crowd. The $6.6 million facility should be finished in 18 months and will increase CFR's capacity and efficiency.

Community and Family Resources hopes to have a new home in 18 months.

The regional agency, specializing in addiction recovery and mental health problems, held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new $6.6 million facility Friday morning.

When completed, the new building will consolidate services and help serve more clients, said CFR Executive Director Michelle De La Riva.

“Nearly two years ago we purchased this land,” De La Riva said. “This new building represents hope, healing, and recovery. With this new building we are going to increase our capacity almost by double. We’re going to have increased efficiency, we’re going to have safety and security, and most of all our clients are going to be able to come in and say this is a wonderful place of hope, healing and refuge.”

In 2017, CFR served more than 3,000 clients through treatment programs, she said. The agency offers treatment services in eight different counties and prevention services in 10 counties.

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Todd Taylor, Crew Leader at Woodruff Construction, tells about his own experience coming through CFR's program and how it helped him turn his life around, at a groundbreaking for the new facility Friday.

De La Riva said Ask Studio, of Des Moines, has been working with the agency for those two years, and provided multiple design options while showing patience for “all my indecisiveness.” Now CFR has partnered with Woodruff Construction to see the project through.

Todd Taylor, crew leader at Woodruff Construction, spoke at the event about his own recovery journey.

“I know firsthand how much this is needed because I’ve been through the CFR,” Taylor said. “I know the quality work that Woodruff does. They’re going to make a really nice place, and it’s going to make a huge difference in a lot of lives.

“The environment and the atmosphere of the old CFR is kind of a dark, dingy, gloomy place,” Taylor added.

CFR has three locations now, said Steve Pederson, who serves on the Capital Campaign Cabinet for the project. The agency has its original building at 726 S. 17th Street, outpatient therapy north of town on 15th Street, and the STARS adolescent program at the Corpus Christi location on North Eighth Street.

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
This empty, grassy field is the future site of Community and Family Resources' new $6.6 million facility. The building will replace three separate buildings in Fort Dodge.

“Our buildings are very old,” Pederson said. “It’s a turn-of-the-century building, and can no longer be adapted to today’s expectations. There’s no handicap access, there are stairways up or down as soon as you enter the front door, there’s no elevator. It’s antiquated.”

This is the first time CFR has ever gone to the community for a capital campaign, said Pederson, who has been part of the group raising money from local supporters. The first round of the campaign had a goal of $2 million.

“Community and Family Resources today is financially sound and ready to tackle this project, and for the first time ever we’re reaching out to the community to join us in finishing this vision,” said Doug Bailey, CFR board president.

Bailey spoke about CFR’s future.

“I can assure you it is bright,” he said. “I’ve been on the board for 13 years, and I have to tell you the future was not always so bright. But in the last five years this agency has made a dynamic turnaround.”

This was because the board was willing to listen to outside consultants and recognize shortcomings, Bailey said.

“CFR has been a source of new beginnings for our clients for nearly 50 years, and it is our goal to be a resource for new beginnings for the next 50.”

State Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink attended the groundbreaking.

” It’s a great thing for this community and area. Proud to have it here,” he said. “It’s my understanding they were turning people away. This will serve some — not all — but some of our mental health needs that are apparent in our community.”

Kraayenbrink praised the community for stepping up in support and recognizing the need.

Pederson, who is also president of the Downtown Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District board, has volunteered with CFR for 25 years.

He was also the beneficiary of a 30-day program just like CFR back in 1989.

“CFR’s calling is a very high calling,” he said. “We’re not a subset of society. We are part of society. They say 1 in 10 of us will have an addiction or alcohol problem, and one in four families is affected.

“When folks seek recovery they are returning to normal. They are going to become tax-paying, family-supporting members of society. That’s really what the quest for recovery, and sobriety, and freedom of addiction is, is a chance to begin to live life as a full member of society.”