Resource Program Expansion Breaking Ground in Early 2018

“Yes, in case you’re wondering,” said CRRC Board Chairman Max Hosford. “We are still moving forward with plans to build a new facility in Canyon Lake to house our Resource Program.”

It’s been a while since CRRC had talked with the community about the plans, but Hosford said it is only because the staff and board have been almost singularly focused on the project. “We are proud to announce that we will be breaking ground before summer,” he said.

Hosford and CRRC Executive Director Darin Zumwalt said the new facility’s size grew as new needs came to light. Also, as new  partnerships were made within the Canyon Lake community and beyond some changes were made to the now “multi-purpose” building.

Medical services, mental health counseling and various education topics and classes are among the reasons for the increased size and purposes.

Zumwalt said, “We have several entities outside our community that are interested in coming to the lake to provide services to our residents. We’re excited about this because transportation is always one of the top needs in any survey that has been done. People have a hard time finding rides to obtain services.”

He added, “We have created available office space for outside agencies to come and utilize the CRRC building for their work thereby helping CRRC to continue helping the Canyon Lake Community.”

The Community Resource & Recreation Center (CRRC) in Canyon Lake has been planning to build a new facility to house its Resource Program for almost four years. It started out as simply an expanded food pantry and storage area because the demands on the current pantry have grown beyond the 2,000 square foot building that houses offices, a medical equipment loan program, storage for Meals on Wheels containers, and also the food pantry.

Hosford said Resource Program Director Maureen Schein was still quite excited about the future, despite the delay.

Schein smiled, saying the need for more storage is evident. “There’s hardly room to walk around all the storage areas of the building we’re in. But if we have to wait a little longer – like we have been – to get more services to people, it will be worth it.”

She would like to move toward a Client Choice Pantry, which allows clients to do their own “shopping” in the “store,” similar to the way the New Braunfels Food Bank distributes food. This helps clients get food they are more likely to use, and cuts down on food waste.

Right now, it’s difficult for one grocery cart to maneuver in the small pantry at CRRC, let alone several, she noted.

Schein is pleased with partnerships that have been and are being created to serve residents that are mentally handicapped.

“When I participated in the Comal County Task Force on Mental Health I discovered that a lot of mental health needs were not being met in Comal County. I started asking around about how to best meet these needs in Canyon Lake.” That led to CRRC redesigning the floor plan and adding some office area, she said.

Zumwalt pointed out that surveys done in 2015, and again in early 2017 have revealed, and confirmed, a need for a health clinic for health problems and minor emergencies. Many residents are unable to gain access to primary providers, even for small concerns. Others need referrals for tests or to specialists.

Canyon Lake Fire / EMS Division Chief of EMS Brandon Kludt said the department’s new program, Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH) is a logical partner for this new idea. “Our program is designed to take some of the burden and repeated ambulance runs off the EMS personnel. By visiting folks in their homes to talk about and manage health and social issues, we can curb their tendency to call 911 often times resulting in unnecessary transports to emergency departments.”

Since the inception of MIH in January 2017 , repeat patients have cut down 911 calls by more than 85%, he said. This allows ambulances and fire department resources to be free for more serious calls.

“We’re not saying their health concern isn’t legitimate,” Kludt said. “We’re just addressing them differently, in a proactive manner. This is healthier for the patient, and more efficient for our staff.”

Kludt, EMS Medical Director John Flanagan and his staff will lead the medical health screenings clinic in the new building.

Hosford said, “The new project is just the tip of our opportunity. We also will be concentrating on facility maintenance and upgrades to the Thrift Store, the Recreation Center and the Community Center, which need proper investment dollars put into each facility. Included as well, the continued operational dollars so that the organization runs smoothly and efficiently.”

He added, “We have fund raising work ahead of us and we know that the community has stepped up in the past and will come together now to help CRRC continue moving forward. As goes the growth of the Canyon Lake area and surrounding Comal County area, so goes the need for CRRC to provide updated and adequate services to the community.”

Board and staff members are focusing on The Big Give on March 22 to bring in funding. CRRC has been in the top fundraising organizations in The Big Give for all four years that it has participated.