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L.I.F.E. Center to break ground

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new L.I.F.E. Inc. Center for Independent Living satellite office in Bismarck is set to take place at 1 p.m. Friday on ground located adjacent to the Bismarck Senior Center on East Main Street.

Construction of the new L.I.F.E. center is being paid for by a $316,750 Community Development Block Grant funded through the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

The L.I.F.E. Center is a non-profit organization that assists individuals with disabilities who want to remain independent or to regain their independence. It is funded through a Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation grant and Medicaid fee for service program, along with private and corporate donations and fundraisers.

About a year-and-a-half ago, the L.I.F.E. Center for Independent Living opened a storefront satellite office in Bismarck on Center Street, not far from where the new center will be located.

About a year-and-a-half ago, the L.I.F.E. Center for Independent Living opened a storefront satellite office in Bismarck on Center Street, not far from where the new center will be located.

In the fall of 2016, the L.I.F.E. Center opened a storefront satellite office in Bismarck to assist clients there and in the surrounding area, joining a satellite office opened two years earlier in the Madison County town of Fredericktown.

It wasn’t long after celebrating the organization’s 20th anniversary in the spring of 2017, however, that L.I.F.E. Center Executive Director Tim Azinger and the organization’s board of directors were forced to close the Fredericktown office after the Missouri Legislature cut $2.5 million from the budget used to help finance independent living centers throughout the state.

Despite the massive financial hit, L.I.F.E. kept the storefront office in Bismarck open.

Looking forward to the upcoming ceremony, Azinger said, “With all the bad news from last year this is like one nice bright ray of sunshine to feel good about. Because Bismarck sponsored us as a city we’re going to be able to get our own office over there. We’ve been renting space behind city hall, but once the new center is completed it’s going to give us a rent-free home where all we’ll have to do is pay the utilities.”

Bismarck Mayor Seth Radford explained that the city sought the grant to take another step in improving the quality of life for its residents, while hopefully drawing new home construction and businesses to town, as well.

“Our board took a pretty active stance to get a L.I.F.E. Center over here,” he said. “The backbone to this area — whether it’s Bismarck, Farmington, or any other nearby community — is about keeping families at home. We had a specialized population here that wasn’t being addressed by the city or anyone else.

“The L.I.F.E. Center was really working hard on keeping people out of residential care, nursing facilities, if at all possible. We are working very hard to help our senior and disabled population because we believe they deserve the same quality of treatment as everybody else.

“That’s why the city board, working along with the L.I.F.E. Center, has put so much effort into getting the new facility here in town. This is also going to be a place where, if the city needs to address that specific population, we will have a place to meet with them at the L.I.F.E. Center.”

The groundbreaking ceremony is open to the public.

The official groundbreaking ceremony for the L.I.F.E. Center for Independent Living's new Bismarck satellite center is set for 1 p.m. Friday. The center, funded by a $316,750 Community Development Block Grant, will be located adjacent to the Bismarck Senior Center on East Main Street.

The official groundbreaking ceremony for the L.I.F.E. Center for Independent Living’s new Bismarck satellite center is set for 1 p.m. Friday. The center, funded by a $316,750 Community Development Block Grant, will be located adjacent to the Bismarck Senior Center on East Main Street.

Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or kjenkins@dailyjournalonline.com

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