WALKER – There was symbolic dirt and there was red dirt.

The symbolic dirt turned over Wednesday by gold shovels marked the groundbreaking for a new building at the Livingston Activity Center (LAC).

The red dirt was the clay mixture unloaded by long-bed trucks and leveled by a bulldozer as site preparation work continued during the ceremony. The threat of rain Thursday spurred the work, according to John Blount, owner of Blount General Contractors, the contractor for the project.

But the project also is personal to Blount.

“I grew up in Walker and this building has been here my whole life,” Blount said, pointing to the building the center has occupied since 1970. “This is a great project and I’m glad we were successful in getting the bid."

“We came through here with the Chamber Leadership group and it was touching to see how they work with the limited resources and the impact they have on folks,” he said.

The non-profit LAC works with adults with disabilities through a day program and vocational program. The center will “take such a leap forward with this facility,” Blount added.

A 5,000-square-foot building will rise where two temporary buildings sat, which will allow the center to double the number of clients it serves from 40 to 80, according to Linda Watts, LAC director. The woodshop in the back of the building will remain there, while the rest of it will be used for storage.

Weather permitting, the move-in date for the new building is Dec. 4, Watts said.

Aaron Ellis, a member of the LAC board of directors, welcomed public officials, LAC clients and supporters to “celebrate this bold step forward.” He recognized one of the founders of the LAC, Shirley Carlisle, and board President Suzanne Howze.

Carlisle helped open the center in September 1970. The building actually was not completed when the LAC got it; they had to get help to put in the doors, windows and paneling, she said.  

“There are no words to adequately cover what (Howze) has meant to the Activity Center and its mission,” Ellis said. “Her tireless dedication has touched an endless number of people.

“I expect to see each and every one of you back here this fall when we have the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the state-of-the-art facility behind me.”

The center recently added a Facebook social media page, Livingston Activity Center, will be posting updates as the construction begins. Other activities and news about the center also will be posted.

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