Officials from the Moore County Resource Center (MCRC), Panhandle Community Services (PCS), the Dumas/Moore County Chamber of Commerce, and LA Fuller and Sons Construction came together in Dumas Friday at the 19th Street location of what they hope will soon be the centralized location of most of the non-profit and social service organizations of Moore County. They were there to commemorate a major milestone on the road to making the center a reality: workers from LA Fuller and Sons were laying pavement on a new street that will intersect the land of the center and open the way for construction to begin on the new Moore County offices of PCS, the first organization to make the move to 19th Street.
LA Fuller and Sons was partially donating the work, according to Jason Fuller, who was on hand Friday. "They are covering some of the costs and we are covering some of the costs," he said. The company has a long-standing relationship with PCS. The company works with the agency every year to help qualifying Panhandle residents in financial need to weatherize their homes. "That relationship, that is one of the proudest things that we are a part of, helping those families that are in those situations."
Among the other individuals and organizations making Friday's work possible, Moore County donated the initial dirt work on the street, a turn around area at the southern end of the property, and two alleys that will be finished with caliche. Workers from the City of Dumas mowed the vegetation on the lot, among other things, and the Dumas Economic Development Corporation helped pay for the installation of a required fire hydrant. It has taken more than a decade of fundraising and finding donors willing to pitch in for the MCRC organization to get to this point.
"The thing that makes this nice is that they can design it to fit their needs," said Milton Pax of the MCRC organization. Initially, Pax and the other proponents of the center had hoped to build a single building that would house all of the organizations. For years, the organizations had been located in the old Flying A Motor Hotel/ Snead Hotel, which had become the Moore County Annex after its days as a hotel ended. Black mold forced the county to demolish the building in the 1990s, and the organizations ended up scattered across the county in sometimes inadequate temporary offices. People needing access to the services had to travel all over town, something that was not always easy for the elderly and disabled. Over time, the supporters of the MCRC decided a single building was impractical and too expensive, and they came up with the idea of dividing the property that they had been able to purchase on 19th Street into individual lots. They would give each organization a lot on which they could build their own permanent offices.
PCS was the first to receive a lot, and, according to spokesperson Christy Hilbert, construction on the new office will begin shortly. Funding has been secured and plans have been drawn up. She said the organization hopes to be able to move in sometime this summer. At the new location, PCS will also have room to park the vehicles of Panhandle Transit, a public transportation service the organization runs. PCS in Dumas is operating today in donated temporary space in the Towncenter 1 building on Bliss Avenue. While Hilbert said staffers are grateful for the space, they will be ready to move into permanent quarters this summer. "We are super excited," she said. "This will be a more permanent space that will be more conducive to what we want to do in the community."
Pax said there are no other organizations ready yet to make a firm commitment to move to the center, but "we have some feelers out." He hopes seeing PCS build will spur others to make the move.