Nonprofits to benefit from planned PRC expansion

Published 12:02 pm Thursday, June 3, 2021

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Three nonprofits will benefit from a major expansion in downtown Austin of the Parenting Resource Center’s family visitation facility thanks to significant financial support from The Hormel Foundation.

Called the Austin Community Action Building, the expanded facility to be built between the U.S. Post Office and Oakland Avenue East will house the Parenting Resource Center and its Michael H. Seibel Family Visitation & Exchange Center along with the nonprofit agencies of the Welcome Center and Children’s Dental Health Services. This project will connect to the Seibel Center that opened in 2008 on the former site of the Downtown Motel and houses the offices of the Parenting Resource Center, which runs numerous other programs, including Catherwood Child Care.  

“What a benefit for our community,” Austin Mayor Steve King said during a press conference held Thursday morning at the building’s future location. King, along with members of the three nonprofits, thanked The Hormel Foundation for its financial support of the multi-million dollar project. He also thanked the Austin Housing & Redevelopment Authority (HRA), which recently approved the transfer of ownership of the expansion’s land.

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Contracts are being finalized for the expansion on the vacant lots.

Steve Rizzi Jr., Secretary of The Hormel Foundation Board, said The Hormel Foundation spent 18 months reviewing the project.

“The Foundation is very pleased to be a part of this project,” he said.

HRA Executive Director Taggert Medgaarden said the project was a “natural fit” with the HRA’s mission of redevelopment, noting that the building will help redevelop a blighted area.

“We have a lot of great things in our community and (the Austin Community Action Building) just adds to it,” he said.

Gema Alvarado-Guerrero, executive director of the Parenting Resource Center, said the Austin Community Action Building will increase community partnerships and enhance access to services for bicultural and bilingual individuals.

“We are very grateful to The Hormel Foundation and Austin HRA for their outstanding support and collaboration to work with us on finding a way to better serve our community, especially the hundreds of children whose lives are affected in a positive way by these agencies,” she said. 

Alvarado-Guerrero also noted that the new building will provide more adequate space to accommodate the Parenting Resource Center’s expanding services and programs, noting that their services “continue to grow and we’ve run out of space.”

The Parenting Resource Center will own and operate the facility, which will also feature more off-street parking and a secure, outdoor play area for families using the Seibel Center’s supervised visitation services.

The Welcome Center, which is currently located on North Main Street, will also benefit from an expanded space, which Welcome Center Director Herve Idjidina said will help provide more privacy for clients as well as be a more welcoming space.

Idjidina also noted the biggest benefit to the Welcome Center moving into the new space.

“This project will provide a permanent home for the Welcome Center,” he said.

The location will also provide a permanent space for Children’s Dental Health Services in Austin. According to Children’s Dental Health Services Director Sarah Hayes, the Rochester-based Children’s Dental Health Services provides free dental care through school outreach to over 1,000 Mower County children who are uninsured or on medical assistance. More serious dental work requires travel to Children’s Dental Health Services’ Rochester location; having a permanent location in Austin will remove that roadblock.

Construction on the Austin Community Action Building is expected to begin this fall with the new facility open to the public in 2022.