Chosen Ranch to have grand opening for new center

LINCOLN — The Chosen Ranch, an Alcona faith-based organization that helps abandoned, abused and neglected youths across the state, will unveil its new Chosen Ranch Community Center Saturday in Lincoln today.

Executive Director Frank Dimercurio said the grand opening of the center will be at 11 a.m. at the site located at 483 E. Traverse Bay Road in Lincoln.

He said the event is going to take place in conjuction with the annual Lincoln Trick-or-Trunk/Chili and Soup cook-off that the Chosen Ranch is a sponsor.

Dimercurio said the community center has been on a wish list for Chosen Ranch officials since the organization was created.

“We started when a young boy was dropped off at the Alcona County Courthouse steps (several years ago),” he said. “His grandfather abandoned him, his father was in prison, and there was not one foster home for the kid. That kind of birthed the whole idea.”

According to Dimercurio, Chosen Ranch workers had been working with kids in the community for several years and part of the vision was to make a difference in the community by interceding with trouble youth before they got into the court system. One idea was to potentially start a community center for the kids and anyone else in the community, both young and old, who could use the space and services.

“They’re great kids, they were just born into bad situations and we’re trying to surround them with kids that are born into good situations,” he said. “Everyone can reach out.”

Dimercurio said the group had wanted to buy the building that eventually would house the community center for a long time.

“The building was a plumbing and heating place. It’s been closed for more than 10 years. The previous owner passed away a few years ago and his widow had had it up for sale for years, but the price was just not there,” he said. “I talked to that individual for several years and we just couldn’t come together on a price.

Dimercurio said through a lot of prayer Chosen Ranch ended up with the building after a deal for it with another buyer fell through because there was an issue with the building.

“We came in with a lower offer and they accepted and we came in here and we started just renovating, no structural stuff but we did a lot of painting and priming and turning it into a comfortable place where people can come and feel safe,” he said. “We have all kinds of activities planned for young and old alike.”

Dimercuiro said the space will not just serve people from Alcona County.

“People are coming from as far down as Standish, and as far up as Presque Isle,” he said. “The people from the Village of Lincoln were outstanding and welcoming to us.”

Dimercurio said there will be hot dogs and hamburgers served at the free event. He invited people to come tour the new center. More information about the center can be found by visiting www.chosenranch.org or by calling 335-4673.

Jason Ogden can be reached via email at jogden@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Jason on Twitter @jo_alpenanews.