SILVER CITY — Bridge Community, "Spanning Life's Transitions," has completed the purchase of 10 acres of land to serve as the site for their planned Continuum of Care Senior Housing Community.
The nonprofit group has been working for the past seven years towards the goal of raising funds for such a facility in the Silver City area, board member Don Trammell said.
The group first came together as a committee of members from the First United Methodist Church on College Avenue, and worked for three years before becoming a 5013c. They have been organized as a nonprofit for the past four years.
The land purchase was made possible by a $50,000 grant from Freeport -McMoRan Copper and Gold's Community Investment Fund and a $50,000 private donation from a benevolent, community-minded local resident who chooses to remain anonymous.
The two large donations paid for the $100,000 land purchase.
"Now that we have the land we can actively start looking at design and raising money in earnest through grants and other sources," Trammell said.
The group is looking at a five year plan - which might be rather ambitious in itself, Trammell said.
Bridge Community plans to build a facility that will serve Silver City and Grant County's aging population with a full range of care beginning with cottages and apartments for independent seniors with maintenance and grounds care provided, to studio apartments for those requiring more assistance, and finally to a secure wing for those suffering various stages of dementia.
The nearest facility offering these services on one campus is more than 100 miles away. Consequently, through the years when Silver City area residents have reached this level they have moved away - some as far away as Oregon, Trammelll said. And presently, if members of a couple require different levels of care, they must be separated from each other or move to an area offering continuing care services.
Bridge Community is made up of local residents who recognize the need for a continuum of care model to be designed and built in the Silver City area. The group currently has about 20 members - all local residents - who pay $1,000 a year.
The group held weekly fundraisers for several years offering soup and bread and beverage for $6 at The First United Methodist Church, every Tuesday, but have since discontinued those, Trammell said, as members began to run out of energy for it. The weekly fundraisers didn't earn the group much money, Trammell said, but gave them good publicity and great public response.
"One couple talked to our treasurer there and came back and wrote a check for $10,000," Trammell said. "I don't even know who they were. But that just shows that people really believe in what we are doing," he said.
Trammell is a Silver City native, who grew up in the Cliff/Buckhorn area and graduated from WNMU with both his bachelors and masters degrees and spent 27 years as a counselor at Silver High School before retiring. He spent 10 years "in exile" in California, he said, before returning to his home state and home town area. He sees a real need for the kind of Continuum of Care Bridge Community is planning for this area.
"This is one of the things that has really bothered us," he said. "One person might be doing better than another but then the one is who is doing better can go downhill fast. The stress of being a caregiver is just terrible. It's 24-7. This (planned facility) is one of the ways that couples can still be together in their later years."
Anyone wanting to learn more about Bridge Community or interested in becoming a member or renewing their $1,000 club membership, or those wishing to make other donations, can call Don Trammell at 575-538-5754. Donations can also be mailed to P.O. Box 1052 Silver City, New Mexico, 88062.
Christine Steele can be reached at 575-538-5893 ext. 5802.