The Community Action Partnership of Scott, Carver and Dakota counties is on the move.

The CAP Agency has relocated its administrative office and food shelf to 738 First Ave. E., Shakopee, from its previous location on Canterbury Road. Its Local Imports store has also relocated to a different building, at 8085 Old Carriage Court, Shakopee.

The new building on First Avenue provides nearly double the space of the previous building, according to a Dec. 2 CAP Agency press release. Jeff Hansen, CAP Agency executive director, said the increase in space makes significant improvements for the food shelf program, doubling the agency’s food shelf space.

With the recent purchases of a large walk-in freezer and walk-in cooler, Hansen said the food shelf will be able to take in more frozen and fresh food to provide to the community.

“Prior to this location, we really couldn’t take much of that food in. We didn’t have the capacity to store it safely,” Hansen said. “We’re hopeful that now we can get more types of those fresh foods and then get them out to our clients.”

Hansen added that the CAP Agency generally allows people to participate in the program once a month, but increases in capacity and food items may also make it possible for people to visit more frequently in the future.

Beyond an expansion of the food shelf program, Hansen believes this space is a more convenient and accessible location for Scott, Carver and Dakota County residents.

The CAP Agency shared its previous location with Scott County and Southwest Metro Intermediate School District. Hansen said it will be less confusing for people now that the agency has its own site, and the space to manage all of its services at one centralized location.

He anticipates other CAP Agency services, including housing support and childcare, to remain mostly unchanged as far as the agency’s ability to serve its clients.

According to Hansen, the CAP Agency served more people in 2021 than during the height of the pandemic in 2020. He said it goes to show that the agency’s work is incredibly important during this time.

“I think it’s more important than ever,” Hansen said. “It shows us that we’re a really vital safety net for a lot of people who live in our communities.”

FUNDING THE MOVE

Around a year ago, the other two organizations sharing the previous location with the CAP Agency began plans to move. Hansen said the agency would not have been able to afford staying there as the sole tenant, causing them to look into moving.

He said while initial plans took shape around spring this year, the moving process happened this fall.

Scott County and CAP Agency entered into a $1.7 million loan agreement in February for the purchase and renovation of a building. Then at a Nov. 16 meeting, the Scott County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution to increase the loan amount by $225,000, bringing the loan up to $1,925,000.

Hansen said the CAP Agency has not taken all this money, but rather has borrowed as needed.

The city of Shakopee is purchasing the CAP Agency’s previous site. The agency’s revenue from the sale will go toward payment of the loan, according to county documents. The agency’s operating revenue and a mortgage against its new facility serve as additional security for the loan. From there, the county’s portion of the proceeds from this sale will help cover the remaining loan balance.

Scott County Commissioner Mike Beard commended county staff at the Nov. 16 meeting for working with the CAP Agency on a loan that “protects both the taxpayers and the CAP Agency and gives them every opportunity for success on that new building.”

Hansen agreed that the partnership between the CAP Agency and Scott County has been very helpful in helping the agency successfully move.

“I really want to highlight the partnership … [and] put through my gratitude to Scott County and their willingness to help us make this move as well as the CAP Agency staff and volunteers,” Hansen said.

The CAP Agency is not yet seeing people in person at its new location, but Hansen said services continue to run efficiently and safely like they have throughout the pandemic. Most of the agency’s staff are working and serving clients remotely, and the food shelf continues to provide a fully contactless experience for anyone participating in the program.

“The staff that we have at the CAP Agency is absolutely phenomenal and doing everything they can to try to meet everybody’s needs,” Hansen said. “We believe this work is incredibly crucial and incredibly important.”

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