PARKERSBURG - Plans to convert the former Gustke youth facility on Latrobe Street into a women's shelter took another step forward Monday.
In March, Wood County commissioners agreed to donate the 1611 Latrobe St. property to the Not For Sale Ministries once that group obtained 501c nonprofit status. The youth shelter expanded and was relocated to a St. Marys Avenue site more than seven years ago.
By law, the commission must offer county-owned property at public auction unless they are transferring ownership to a nonprofit or other governmental entity. After announcing availability of the property to see if there was interest both the Lynn Street Church of Christ and NFS Ministries came forward. Commissioners asked the two groups to work together to come up with a proposal for the property.
Photo by Pamela Brust
The deed for the former Gustke youth shelter at 1611 Latrobe St. will be transferred to the Not For Sale Ministries.
Teddy Tackett, minister with the Lynn Street Church of Christ, told commissioners Monday the final paperwork approving the nonprofit status for NFS has been received and turned over to the county.
"Pending finalization with all the paperwork, I think we are ready to move ahead with the transfer of the deed. We already approved the transfer contingent upon your obtaining the nonprofit status designation," commission President Blair Couch said.
"We've teamed up with the Not For Sale Ministries and we're excited about where God is taking us," Tackett said.
"The project has evolved since we originally met with the commission, we've now also taken on the old Storck Bakery property at 19th and Latrobe streets and split this into two projects. The Gustke house will now become a battered/abused women and children's shelter. The homeless/veterans shelter will be at the old Storck Bakery property," Shad Martin with Not For Sale Ministries said.
Tackett said the shelter would be divided into separate facilities to accommodate men and women. Officials with the programs said clients will be referred from various sources, including area churches.
"No matter what church, community, if they see someone in need, they can bring them here," Martin said.
Tackett said the group hopes to be able to house between 60-90 at the former Storck Bakery property.
"We aren't sure how many the women's shelter would hold. We won't know until we remodel there," Martin said.
"We are looking for donations from organizations, churches, foundations. We are asking people in the community to donate $12 a month as a pledge, which would take care of one homeless person for a day out of the month," Tackett said. "That way everyone can be involved in this ministry. We will need lots of volunteer hours, kitchen supplies, plumbing, help with remodeling, construction."
NFS officials said it would probably be spring before remodeling work on the former Gustke shelter could get started.
"The whole house needs remodeled," Martin said, noting he still has a commitment from Washington State Community College to help. "They are just waiting for word from us to get started. We were waiting until we took possession of the house to get started," Martin said.
Martin said officials hope to open the doors of the new shelter at the former Gustke house by fall.
Brenda Ridgeway has been hired as the director for the mission shelter.
"I've been in ministry for a long time and worked in some other different shelters. I just had heart and passion to do something like this. Moving back here about eight weeks ago I've been a longtime friend of Teddy Tackett and he got me involved with this. I met with Shad and I was hired," Ridgeway said.
"We hope to have the shelter in the old Storck Bakery location up and running by November," Martin said "It will be for veterans also. We'll be providing a lot of different services there. It all falls under the NFS Ministries."
Ministry officials said the program wants to meet those in need when they walk in the door and provide services and programs to help them become a functioning member of society again. The group is partnering with Courage to Change Program for services.
"We hope to get them working in a thrift store we want to open up. Eventually we are hoping to provide a culinary arts program and will offer transitional housing for 12-18 months," Ridgeway said.