FOOI Inc. was incorporated in 1992 with the express purpose of saving the I.O.O.F. Building located on Railroad Street in Eustis. When the organization purchased the building for $1, it knew the facility was in a condemned state and would have to be torn down or restored. FOOI members began this project by cleaning up the site and securing areas that were a danger to the public.
During one of the hard rains in 1992 the back wall of the building fell down. Due to the large amount of water that flowed through, an old cesspool behind the building also caved in. In addition to these two catastrophes, an open elevator shaft in the rear of the building needed to be fixed. At that point it was impossible to do any further repair to the I.O.O.F. hall without also repairing the building next to it, which was also abandoned and in a condemned state. FOOI then purchased the adjoining building for $1. Today, this second building serves as the Eustis Wellness Center.
After purchasing these two buildings, FOOI Inc. members and local volunteers donated 2,685 hours of volunteer labor and $39,638 in funds. As a result of their generosity and hard work, each building received a new roof, new back wall and interior construction. The Village then applied for and received a CDBG block grant from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. The community’s financial goals in matching funds were met through donations from Eustis alumni and service groups such as the Eustis Lions Club and Eustis Chamber of Commerce.
Saving the buildings was truly a community project. People from all age groups helped every Wednesday night through spring, summer and fall. After each work session the volunteers enjoyed cookouts and socialization. Community members who were unable to offer physical labor cooked and served food to the workers. Project coordinator, Connie Koch explained, “It was a lot of fun and truly a community building effort. Eustis youth will be able to look at and use these buildings for a long time and be able to take pride in knowing that they helped in a very important community project.”
The Wellness Center now houses the Plum Creek Medical Group, Pony Express Dental Arts, and Far and Away Massage Therapy. The construction of the Wellness Center created incentives for the McCoys Community Pharmacy located in Cozad to establish a satellite store in Eustis. Community members are able to pick up prescriptions, shop for gift items, and develop film at this store.
Connie Koch expressed the sentiments of the Eustis community by saying, “The people of Eustis are very proud of the Wellness Center and very grateful of the help given to us by the CDBG program. It has given us a firm foundation (in more ways than one) to build on.”
Eustis Wellness Center
Rick Zubrod (DED Representative)
(402) 471-3762 • (800) 426-6505