Dixon Family Services Update

Building Improvements List is Still Long, But with Help,

We Are Slowly Crossing Off Some Items

Starting with some exciting and positive news, there was a recent wonderful gift from longtime Dixon Family Services board member, Sarah Villec.  Sarah made the purchase of 6 Ring solar-powered surveillance cameras to go around the entire building!  This was not an inexpensive gift and the thoughtfulness that went into her decision is demonstrates how much she cares about our staff and their safety.  You would think that all we needed to do next was hire a tech person to hook that all equipment up for us.

But the news just kept getting better when Sarah’s grandson, Brandon, volunteered almost an entire day off from his job at Geek Squad to install, program and explain the surveillance system to all DFS staff members.

Brandon is a delightful young man and we all loved having him here for the day.  We respect his technical expertise and skills, his bright personality and can-do attitude.  We all feel so much safer now and we are very hopeful that bad people will stop doing bad things to and around our building.


Some History to this story:  About a year ago DFS created a list of building improvement issues stemming from safety and sanitation concerns and we wrote a story about the list and the fact that our big restoration/remodel was 25 years ago.  It was our hope that the City of Dixon, members of the community, church groups and/or service organizations would step-up and help us out.  It was a matter of that old saying, “If you don’t ask, the answer is automatically no.”  I learned that and many other wise tidbits from Sarah.

In November 2022 I expressed our concerns at a City Council meeting.  Reminding the council and mayor that our complete remodel of the building, was 25 years ago and certain items were rightfully in need of attention, some more urgently than others.  Such items included a leak in the roof, our old and limping AC/Heat Systems, and some plumbing issues.  Other items mentioned were cosmetic in nature, but hey, I can dream.

In 1998 the gut and rebuild was paid for with health and safety capital grants that Dixon Family Services, as a non-profit organization, was able to secure at the time as an alternative to demolishing the long-disregarded building with so many problems at the time, it was deemed uninhabitable.

I then invited several City Staff members and department heads to visit our building to go over the list of items that we felt were worthy of consideration.  One item of concern, the drainage issue, was looked at and determined to not be a problem.  We had noticed that there was accumulation of several inches of water that would sit next to the back of the building for days after rains.

Soon after the visits, a couple of other items were addressed by the city, including fixing a hole in the roof and replacing bulbs in the exterior light fixtures.  We appreciate and thanked the city for those items being fixed.  The men from Planning, Engineering and Fire Department were also very helpful with suggestions, and gave blessings for us to move forward with the list of tasks we wanted to get done.

Since then, we have gotten a few important tasks accomplished, and have decided that some are better to put on the “back-burner” for now.  We have a few updates to share with the community.

The painting of the building became a back-burner item that we would love to have done, but is so expensive it is unrealistic at this time.  A bid came in for $18,400 and that did not include any repair of dry rotted wood, or replacement of damaged trim.

A plan to move our food pantry into our community room took off the task of removing the old rollup door and putting up a wall in its place.  This was an item on the list because mice were getting inside due to the rollup door not having a tight seal.  We are content with the new DFS Pantry living in our large room in the back that used to be the courtroom section of the old city building.

The removal of the dumpster enclosure also became a less worrisome item once we put up a barrier to keep people from dumping sofas, beds, barbeques and other items they preferred not to haul off to the dumps.  Cover your ears, but it had also been being used as an outdoor urinal by some of our neighbors.  Now that we have cameras and a barrier, I hope I never witness that again.  It is still my hope that a group with sledge hammers or an automatic jack hammer will one day tear it down.

With the purchase of steel barriers and installation of surveillance cameras, we are hopeful that many of the issues of abuse will stop happening.  Unfortunately, many of the items of safety and/or sanitation stem from disrespectful and harmful actions of some, not all, tenants in the apartments next door.

The remaining list is now much shorter and includes:

  • A 3.5-foot wooden fence around the front and north side of the property
  • Landscape refresh on all sides of the building
  • Repair two and replace two toilets
  • Remove old dumpster enclosure

Other items of concern are due to the age of the building, such as cast-iron pipes that are corroding, and some cosmetics like flooring and paint.  We will continue to solicit for help from people and groups who are looking for service projects, or want to help for any reason.  I was talking with a member of one of Dixon’s finest service organizations and he and I agreed that it would be a wonderful thing for volunteers from several groups to come together and tackle that fence job.  An opportunity to work together to accomplish something meaningful for Dixon Family Services and our community.  There may be a Boy Scout looking for an Eagle Project.  The possibilities are endless.  Interested?  Please call or email me.  Thank you.

And remember, if you know of someone who needs our help, please suggest they call or email us.  We no longer offer walk-in services, so it is important that they make the call to start the helping process.  If we are not open or are busy helping clients with appointments, we promise to call back if you leave a contact phone number or email address.  If our programs cannot help, we likely know of one that can.

To learn more about Dixon Family Services, and how you can help, call us at 707-678-0442, email Cookie@DixonFamilyServices.org, or go to our website www.DixonFamilyServices.org or find us on Facebook or Instagram.  Thank you.