By Melody Vallieu
TROY — The Family Abuse Shelter of Miami County, Inc. will be making a move to Crescent Drive in the future.
The shelter’s administrative staff and board has announced they have entered into a contract to purchase a 2-acre property at 530 Crescent Drive in Troy. The property is a former doctor’s office, according to Barb Holman, executive director.
“The purchase will expand the shelter’s ability to continue the tradition of providing safe emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence and homelessness,” Holman said in a news release. “This opportunity will allow for renovation of an existing building, addition of new housing space, off street parking and green space.”
Shelter board member and chairperson of the Renovation and Expansion Committee Ruth Jenkins, agrees.
“We’re very excited to have this opportunity for this property,” Jenkins said. “It suits our needs very much and we will be able to develop it the way we want. We are just excited to move forward.”
Holman said they have always been open to the possibility of moving the agency to a new location, but just had to make sure the move would be one that would lead them into the future. With the Franklin Street properties, she said the renovation budget kept increasing.
Holman said on Wednesday that during the process of planning for renovations at their current Franklin Street locations, and the media coverage due to the opposition of tearing down the former Trinity Church, now The Barbel Adkins Education and Activity Center, the staff and board had been approached by several realtors offering possible relocation options.
Under the name “Unity for Trinity,” the Troy Historical Society sought support to save the church, a Gothic Revival-style structure, which has ties to the Underground Railroad and the Miami and Erie Canal. William Henry Harrison gave a speech dedicating the canal at the church in July 1837 prior to becoming a U.S. president for one month in 1841.
“We also looked at the economics of it. To be adding on to the Franklin House with it being on the National Register, we have to make specific adaptations and the budget was really growing,” Holman said.
Jenkins said there is some concern with leaving the downtown area, which has suited the agency’s needs for many year, but also a need to look to the future.
“It has worked for so many years, and the Franklin House is such a part of our identity, but it is our job … and we need to look ahead to the next 20-plus years,” Jenkins said.
Holman said they looked at about 10 properties suggested by local realtors, but location and other issues made the properties not reasonable for the shelter’s needs.
With the Crescent Drive property, however, Holman said, they could see the shelter’s future. The single-floor space also will be handicapped accessible, Holman said, which was another plus for the site.
“This one just really spoke to us and we felt like we could work within our budget,” said Holman, who added they are working with an architect to renovate the Crescent Drive location, and the plans will continue to fit into the shelter’s $2.8 million renovation budget plan. “There’s a lot of possibility and a lot room to grow. There will be green space for kids to play. We wanted to have a safe, secure place for children to get out of the shelter and get some fresh air.”
Renovations will be along the same lines as the Franklin Street property plans, Holman said, of needing to separate the homeless residents from the domestic violence residents. She said following the renovations, the Crescent Drive property will be able to house 16 homeless beds and 16 beds that will be for domestic violence clients, which will increase the total bed space now available.
Holman said staff and board members already have begun fundraising for the project, reaching out to area foundations. She said they will also look to the community for financial support in the future.
While renovation and construction takes place at the Crescent Drive location — which Holman said is a multiple-year project — the shelter will continue ownership and operation of The Franklin House and The Barbel Adkins Education and Activity Center, on 16 and 22 E. Franklin St., respectively, Holman said. She said staff and the board will make a decision on the Franklin Street properties when the time comes to move to the new location and “do what is best for our agency.”
“We’re really excited about this, we are really optimistic about this for the future,” Holman said. “We just really hope the community will be supportive.”
The Unity for Trinity Committee, a group of area residents opposed to the tearing down of the historical former Trinity Church, released a statement in support of the shelter’s decision to relocate.
“The Unity for Trinity Committee is very pleased that the Family Abuse Shelter of Miami County has considered other locations for an expansion of its services and is in the process of purchasing property that could meet its needs well into the future. While several steps lie ahead, we are more hopeful than ever that this can ultimately be a ‘win-win’ for both the shelter and for historic preservation in downtown Troy.”