City Gospel Mission gets keys to new home in West End

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - On June 22, Cincinnati City Council approved a zoning change that allows the City Gospel Mission and other shelters to relocate.

Many of the facilities have outgrown their spaces. Some of the movement is being done for the re-development of Washington Park and other areas in Over-The-Rhine.

The shelters involved are:

  • The YWCA Women's Shelter would build a site on Kinsey Avenue in Mount Auburn.
  • The Lighthouse on Highland, which caters to homeless youth, would also be in Mount Auburn.
  • The Drop-In Center would move from West 12th Street, to a location yet to be determined.
  • A new site would be determined for the Talbert House in Mount Airy
  • The City Gospel Mission has moved from Elm Street near Washington Park, to Dalton Avenue in the West End, at least on-paper, Tuesday.

3CDC worked with City Gospel Mission to secure the funding. They closed on the property Monday and Tuesday, got the keys and took possession, of what is going to become a premier facility here in town.

It will be for treatment and education, but also for transforming lives. It's "what's working" in the West End.

It's a new era and brand new home for the City Gospel Mission. They've been in their Over-The-Rhine location since the 1940's.

"It's too small," said City Gospel Vice President, Sherman Bradley. "It's a dinosaur, it costs us a fortune to operate regularly."

So they're moving upward and westward to the corner of Dalton and Findlay Streets, site of the former Trane heating and cooling building.

"And a brand new, 3-story facility's going to be created," said Bradley. "On the first floor, we'll have The Lord's Gym and Jobs Plus, the second floor will have a 30-bed male in-patient drug rehab program and the third floor will be our Administrative offices for our youth departments, our women's departments, and our men's departments."

"It's actually two properties," said lead architect Jeff Pearson with Kurt Platte Architects. "There's an existing building here, and another existing building there that's to be removed, the vision is to have a two-building campus."

Pearson said their goal is to make it look like a college campus, with lots of welcoming green space and light. People will be coming-in there to get hope and to get help.

"This is an addition for dining back here," Pearson said pointing to the drawings. "And then we're reflecting it over on the other side, The Lord's Gym, it's an exercise facility, sort of look like an Urban Active, being bright and inviting on the inside."

He said there will be lots of trees and landscaping surrounding the outside.

"So, the first floor is the day activity space, including a congregate dining room and commercial kitchen," Pearson said.

Plus, a full-service kitchen that's been needed for years.

"If you've ever seen our kitchen, we do miracles in it, mind you," laughed Bradley. "But it's not adequate to meet the needs, we want to provide better food, we don't have real pantry space, or walk-in freezers where we currently are, so we have to turn-away that wants to come in bulk that we can't handle."

"On the second floor, the dark blue represents the dormitory space," Pearson said pointing to his drawings.

They'll be tripling their bed space, with something new, a day shelter.

"And then allow for those that are living here, to be actually able to stay here all day," Bradley said.

"But the goal is not just to have them come here and stay here permanently," we said. "Absolutely not," Bradley replied. "We want them to be viable, tax-paying citizens that are contributing to society."

All of the walls will be torn-out and re-configured.

"This'll be rebuilt for a main lobby heading down that way to the dining room," Pearson pointed-out.

"And then a 12-month rehab program for the men," Bradley said. "That's in-patient, that are struggling with substance abuse, that is needed to assist them becoming viable citizens coming back into community again."

Bradley said he has five employees right now, who are graduates of their drug rehab program. Two of them are full time, three of them part time,and three of them are enrolled in higher education. Bradley said that's the kind of life transformation they're talking about at City Gospel Mission.

They hope to start tearing things up by the end of this year or early 2012. It'll take about 12 months to transform the campus inside and out.

You can take a look at the architect Jeff Pearson's plans and drawings for yourself just by clicking on this link:

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