Tooele County Commissioners approved a lease agreement with Valley Mental Health for the former J.C. Penney building on Tooele City’s Main Street at their Aug. 6 meeting.
Valley Mental Health took over the operations of the Tooele County food bank, relief services, transitional housing, and domestic violence victims assistance program from Tooele County in May in a move designed to relieve the county of financial obligations for those services.
The food bank has operated out of the former J.C. Penney building at 38 S. Main Street in Tooele City since the county purchased the building, partially funded by a community development block grant in 2007.
The lease agreement, approved unanimously by the county commission, formalizes arrangements commissioners made with VMH earlier this year to assure the continuation of services.
Under the terms of the agreement, VMH will pay the county $1 per year to lease the former J.C. Penney building and be responsible for all utilities including heat, power, sewer, water, and telephone. VMH will also be responsible for maintenance of electrical, plumbing equipment, structural walls and interior walls, glass breakage, interior decorating, janitorial work, and lighting.
VMH will also provide insurance for glass and personal property.
Tooele County will be responsible for insuring the exterior of the building, maintenance of air conditioning and heating equipment, the roof, exterior walls, exterior painting, snow removal and trash removal.
The agreement expires on June 30, 2014, but will automatically renew unless either party gives 90 days notice of their intent to terminate the agreement.
Valley Mental Health’s community resource center, which took on the work of the former Tooele County Relief Services, which provides support for the homeless and families at risk of becoming homeless, has moved across Main Street to the Mantes building at 23 South Main, Suite 33.
The food bank will be able to expand into most of the area formerly occupied by Tooele County Relief Services.
VMH is constructing a wall that will partition off a portion of the front of the old J.C. Penney building for a sandwich shop that will be operated by VMH clients.
The former J.C. Penney building is in the process of having its heating, ventilation, and cooling system upgraded courtesy of a community development block grant.
While funding for social services picked up by VMH from the county is largely provided by federal and state grants, the programs still need the support of local contributions.
“Just because the county has privatized these programs doesn’t mean the need for local support has gone away,” said Vicki Griffith, chairman of Tooele Valley Community Cooperative. TVCC is a local, non-profit organization that assists in the collection of grants, business and individual tax-deductible donations that support the foodbank and community resource center.
“Food and cash donations for the food bank and the resource center are still needed to help them continue to help people in our community,” she added.