HOPE Center revises plan, buys old Dollar General Store building

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By Taylor Riley

The agency that orchestrated that is bringing the HOPE Center, a comprehensive resource center, has revised its plan to use the Theiss building in Eminence.

Tri-County Community Action’s board of directors voted recently to pursue the purchase of the old Dollar General Store building in Eminence for the Hope Center.

The 7,200-square-foot building is quite a bit smaller than the 11,000-square-foot previous facility, but Judge-Executive John Logan Brent insists it’s a better choice.

“One significant concern about the HOPE Center is the amount of money that would have to be raised to restore the old Theiss building,” Brent said in a letter to center supporters.

Brent said Wehr Constructors put together a cost estimate for bringing the building up to code and operational use and it totaled approximately $400,000. This included necessary work like a new roof, a job that would cost between $65,000 and $70,000, plumbing and restrooms, a new electrical service–$200,000–and HVAC system, which is upwards of $100,000.

“While I believe that it is not impossible to raise this amount of money, it would take time,” Brent said. “My fear … is that we risk losing momentum and precious opportunity.”

The center will offer a variety of services including recovery programs for addiction, classes for helping young adults transition into the workforce and training and support for people looking to earn their GED or find employment, among other programs.

“We are looking forward to what this means for the community,” Tri-County Community Action Director Brenda Fox said. “It’s centrally located between the three counties (Henry, Oldham and Trimble).

“We’re really excited about the possibilities … and how quickly this is going to move.”

Organizations like Centerstone and Celebrate Recovery will offer mental health and addiction counseling, while Kentuckiana Works and Henry County Adult Education provide employment classes and guidance on earning education requirements. The benefit of keeping services under one roof is higher participation and less frustration in finding resources.

“I think it’s a good move,” Celebrate Recovery, a future Hope Center program in its third year, Minister Melvin Shiltz said. “It’ll take less time to move in, (and) we want a place to all get together and have parking. There’s a lot that can be accomplished with this.”

The new space is virtually move-in ready with a special floor plan, all steel, with working electric, HVAC and two restrooms. It also has ample parking, which was a shortcoming of the Theiss building, according to Brent.

“The need is now … the sooner the Hope Center has a physical presence in the community, the better,” Brent said. “And people want to help now.”

An option agreement was signed Friday, Dec. 28 with owner Mount Hadden for $140,000. Brent said the money raised at the Hope Gala in October–nearly $20,000–will be used for the down payment.

The Theiss building, donated to Tri-County Community Action Agency by previous owner Jay Hall, will be put up at public auction and the funds from the sale will be used to pay for the new building. Also, fundraising from future Hope Galas, along with other efforts, would be used to pay down the debt of the building.

Brent said the timeline of moving into the building will be swift; it will take only 90 days to receive ownership, and the plan is to move into the building by the end of 2019.

“We don’t want people to give (donations) into this and us sitting on the money,” he said. “It’s a ‘doable’ plan.”

Now, the Henry County Pastors Group, Tri-County Community Action and other partners are searching for interested buyers for the old Theiss building. If you know anyone interested in buying the building, contact Judge-Executive John Logan Brent at (502) 845-5707. 


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