Independent Life Center gets lift at new location

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When administrators with the Independent Life Center were approached with the idea of moving their office to the heart of downtown Craig, they thought it was a great idea.

But there was a problem. The space being offered to them was upstairs, which posed a problem for a non-profit agency whose focus is working with disabled people in Northwest Colorado.

That's when Red Cortner, who owns the building at the corner of Yampa Avenue and Victory Way in Craig, said he would install an elevator to make the offices accessible for the disabled.

Evelyn Tileston, executive director of the Independent Life Center, said she couldn't be more excited.

The non-profit agency hopes to be moved into the upstairs of the building sometime this fall.

"The minute Red says it's ready we're in there," Tileston said. "We need that space so bad."

Right now the agency is seeking a bilingual employee, but if it received one, it would not have an office for the translator at its current location at 356 North Ranney St., she

said.

The new space also will enable the Independent Life Center to install a computer lab for the disabled.

Cortner is footing the bill for the elevator's installation.

"He said, 'I'll put in an elevator because I want you guys up there,'" Tileston said of the building's owner.

Cortner said he simply wanted to keep the Independent Life Center as a renter. He owns the building that the agency has outgrown.

But he did stress the importance of installing an elevator downtown.

"This is something more buildings in the town need to do," he said. "It turns a second floor into ground-floor property."

Tileston said the installation of the elevator will enable the Independent Life Center to be in a location where it has more community exposure.

"We'll be right in the heart of where business is done in Craig,"

she said.

The increased space might cater to Tileston's future dream of one day having a "teaching kitchen" in the office.

This kitchen would have wheelchair accessible appliances and Braille wording on kitchen equipment and appliances.

The mission of the Independent Life Center is to "provide independent living services for people with significant disabilities in Northwest Colorado so that they may be included and empowered in all aspects of community life."

Tileston said moving into the new building will help the agency work toward that mission.

"There is no way we can thank Red Cortner for doing this for us," she said. "I can't believe anyone would be that public minded."

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or jnichols@craigdailypress.com.

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