CASDA renovation underwayIndividuals, businesses and organizations dug deep to give the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse a “New Beginning.”
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Individuals, businesses and organizations dug deep to give the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse a “New Beginning.”
Wednesday, board and staff members dug in with shovels during a groundbreaking ceremony for renovations at the agency’s new home, 318 21st Ave. E. Executive Director Kelly Burger wasn’t surprised by the wide range of support for the agency’s first capital campaign.
“We’ve seen people come together,” she said. “It’s a partnership and whether it’s a silent or more vocal one, we’ve had a great partnership with this community. It does not surprise me that people have stepped up to the plate, businesses have stepped up to the plate.”
The agency has provided shelter and offered services for victims of domestic violence for more than 24 years.
“The million dollars that is put toward this wonderful warm and nurturing safe facility is an affirmation of this community’s commitment that every child and every family matters,” said State Senator Bob Jauch, D-Poplar. “It’s an affirmation that violence is everybody’s business. And we all have a responsibility to provide a safe place and an opportunity for a better future for those who are victims by domestic violence.”
Both the Superior Police Department and Douglas County Sheriff’s Department work closely with the agency.
“We do investigations and arrests,” said Superior Police Chief Charles LaGesse. “The piece we really don’t specialize in is working with victims and helping them get back on their feet. But we recognize how important that is. That’s what CASDA does, helps them through the legal process and move on with life.”
Need for dormitory space at the University of Wisconsin-Superior left CASDA looking for a home last year. Essentia Health offered CASDA the East End building, valued at $750,000, for $250,000. The city of Superior stepped up to pledge $250,000 over the next 10 years for operations. One year ago, the agency launched the capital campaign to raise $1.5 million to renovate the building to include offices and a 10-bedroom emergency shelter.
To date, Burger said, they have raised $900,000. That is enough to complete the renovations, with only six bedrooms.
“We’re in phase two of the campaign which is to try to finish raising the rest of the money so when we open we’ll truly open with the full, completed 10 bedroom facility,” Burger said. The agency has scaled back its original $1.5 million goal. It will take another $200,000 to finish the entire project — 10 bedrooms, furnishings and the loan paid off.
“Which is amazing,” Burger said. “We’re so close.”
Renovation work began Oct. 1, according to general contractor Duane Holm of Donald Holm Construction. He expects the work to take about five months. If the $200,000 comes in during that time, Burger said, extra bedrooms will be added. If it comes in after construction is completed, new bedrooms will be added as money becomes available.
“Over the past two years, the agency had to turn away 91 women and 96 children due to the lack of space,” said Geof Wendorf, a member of the CASDA board of directors. Currently, the shelter has only three bedrooms. When the agency was located at Hawkes Hall on the UWS campus, it had eight.
Last year, CASDA served 535 victims, 83 percent of whom came from Douglas and St. Louis counties. The agency also provides services to Bayfield and Ashland counties.
“Abuse does not discriminate,” Wendorf said. “There is no single characteristic or quality that sets apart the women, children and men caught in abusive situations.”
CASDA is there for them all.
“You just do great work and it’s a quiet achievement,” said Superior Mayor Bruce Hagen during the ceremony. “Thank you so much.”
The network of donors who came together to fund the campaign — public and private, individual, business and organization — were impressive, said Douglas County Administrator Andy Lisak.
“I think that’s really the definition of partnership to make this happen,” he said.
It shows, Jauch said, that “This is everybody’s business, this is everybody’s place. And we all bear a responsibility to make it right and end violence forever.”
Donations are being taken for phase two of the “New Beginnings” campaign. Donations can be brought to the CASDA office or at www.casda.org. Call 715-392-3136.