GLENS FALLS — When you’ve already got a building and the plan is for a multi-million dollar renovation, you cannot use shovels for the groundbreaking.
“OK, let’s break out the sledgehammers,” Kim Cook, president and CEO of Open Door Mission, said at the conclusion of Monday’s gathering at the mission’s new facility at 224-226 Warren St.
Cook donned a hard hat along with Andrew Cruikshank, who was representing Adirondack Health Institute, Craig Treiber, a longtime donor, mission board chairman Jeff Leland and Paul McPhillips, representing Glens Falls Foundation.
All have been instrumental in getting plans for the facility off the ground. They went together into the next room and each took a ceremonial whack at a wall in the building the mission bought from Phil Rose Apartments for $450,000.
Monday’s get-together, which drew more than 50 supporters of the new facility, was two-fold. First, the group wanted to announce that work was going to start on putting in a new water main, sprinklers and a new facade and windows.
“That’s what we need to make sure we can open Code Blue,” Cook said of the cold-weather shelter for the region’s homeless. “We have to have sprinklers for the whole building, and this is a big building.”
The second reason for the meeting was about the need for money.
“We really need at least $800,000 to do it right,”Cook said. “We can do it for $600,000, and we have that, but even having $800,000, it will be really tight. We need more if possible.”
The mission will begin wide-scale fundraising in the community next month, Cook said, and is already seeking additional funds from businesses, foundations and community members.
The initial work is expected to be done in November, and at that point, the mission will look toward Phase 2.
The second phase will involve building a much-larger, 100-seat dining room for the soup kitchen, a welcome area and a large classroom area. The kitchen will also be set up as a culinary arts teaching area. The dining room at the Lawrence Street site has seating for 30. The new center will have meeting and office space, while the current site has none.
The overall cost for additional phases to complete the facility, which is envisioned to include a year-round homeless shelter and other facilities, is about $5 million.
“Our sources chart shows that we expect $1.3 million from federal-level housing grants that we already know we are qualified for,” Cook said previously. “There is another $1 million in regional grants, and we have reached 41 percent of that goal. The community portion is $1.75 million, and if the community comes around, the rest will happen.”
The Open Door established the Code Blue emergency shelter three winters ago, and most recently it was located in a county-owned building on Gurney Lane, which will not be available in the future.
“It’s either here or we don’t have one,” Cook said. “And we need to have one.”
Those who want to help with the project can contact Cook at 518-792-5900 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In talking about the next several years, Cook noted the overnight functions of the shelter will be focused on men.
“We would love to serve everyone, but it gets much harder with women and children. Women’s programs are harder to set up,” Cook said. “More men are falling through the cracks, and if we can help the men, we can help the families.”