GAINESVILLE – Delayed but not discouraged. That’s the mindset at Good News at Noon as plans to construct a new facility are finally becoming a reality.
Construction delays are commonplace for new projects across Hall County as strong growth, a shortage of skilled labor and rising material costs are the norm. The longtime Gainesville ministry is not exempt from those challenges, but on Wednesday groundbreaking will finally happen at the intersection of Pearl Nix Parkway and Dorsey Street according to Executive Director Ken Gossage
“We finally are moving forward,” Gossage said this past week. “I guess we ordered our materials far enough in advance where we’re now actually ready to start.”
A September start date at the 2.85-acre site was mentioned when the move was initially announced in May, but that never materialized. Yet Gossage says that delay allowed an opportunity for other aspects of the project to fall into place, including the ministry’s fundraising efforts.
Gossage said site work will begin shortly, with the first shovelfuls of soil being tossed at the new site during a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, October 20, at 10:00 a.m.
“We know that our building materials will arrive the first week in December,” Gossage said of the prefabricated 11,000-square foot metal building. “So we want to have everything ready to go so that when they are here we can actually start seeing a building rise up on the property.”
“We’re hoping it’ll be the end of May, the beginning of June,” Gossage said regarding anticipated completion of the project, provided the weather cooperates.
And once settled into the new building Gossage sees ministry opportunities expanding significantly. “We’re trying to come up with a strategic plan now that is going to address all aspects of homelessness here in our area,” he said.
“In general homelessness is a very complex issue so we’re trying to build a safety net that’s going to catch as many folks as possible from falling into that state.”
The recent closure of nearby homeless ministry ‘Set Free Gainesville’ has added to the number of those needing assistance, as is evidenced by the longer lines when meals are served at the Good News shelter.
When asked what new experiences and opportunities he sees in the future for Good News, Gossage points to the rapidly growing area of need among the elderly. “Folks that maybe were not as prepared for retirement as they thought they were and are trying to live off a thousand dollars a month pension or Social Security are going to be the next wave, (that) is what we are expecting.”
Plans also include a women’s shelter, something the ministry has never been able to offer.
“We’re going to have single women, twenty beds in the new shelter,” Gossage explained, but in the meantime, “…we hope to be able to maybe begin ministering to them in some form or fashion as early as November even though we do not have space for them here (current location). We have some possibilities that we are trying to get ready for this winter and give them a safe and secure place to sleep at night.”
The public is invited to attend the groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. at the corner of Dorsey Street and Pearl Nix Parkway.