After nearly two years of fundraising, Marroquin, executive director of the Day Worker Center of Mountain View, happily welcomed nearly 100 people to the groundbreaking of the non-profit’s new 3,500-square-foot facility at 113 Escuela Ave. The crowd included local residents, dayworkers and city officials from Mountain View and Los Altos Hills.
“Finally I can see something tangible,” Marroquin said of the new center, which will offer job-matching services and classes for dayworkers. “I’m for sure satisfied.”
The plan is to move the center from 748 Mercy St. to the new site, which formerly housed a dry-cleaning business, by September.
Center officials bought the building two years ago. It’s the first day labor center “to purchase its own permanent facility through broad-based community support,” according to a center press release.
Fundraising will continue, according to Marroquin, because the center remains approximately $240,000 short of the $1 million needed to complete construction.
Getting this far hasn’t been easy for Marroquin and her colleagues.
“Like everything that’s important in life, there is always a challenge,” Marroquin said. “This is so, so important.”
Despite the backing – financial and otherwise – the center has received from several cities, community members and other supporters, there have been detractors. Some Escuela Avenue residents contested the center’s move, and lodged a petition against it, citing improper zoning and a potential increase in traffic.
“Ultimately, I have nothing against the Day Worker Center,” Escuela Avenue resident Vince Raciti said in May 2009. “But our little street is already very congested. To add another business will be even more congesting.”
The protests didn’t sway the Mountain View City Council, which granted the center a conditional-use permit May 12 of last year.
The city of Mountain View is providing an adjacent lot for parking and granting the center a 40-year lease – the first 20 rent-free. Three surrounding cities have contributed financially: Los Altos ($75,000), Los Altos Hills ($25,000) and Palo Alto ($60,000).
Marroquin said the center plans to approach more neighboring cities for financial support.
“This dream came through only because the community together works toward this achievement,” she said.