Community Action rethinks relocation options


(Posted Aug. 11, 2017)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Bridges Community Action Partnership is taking another look at remodeling options for its potential new location.

The private non-profit agency assists low-income individuals and families with utilities, home improvement, family development, work resources, safe housing, and medical needs. The Madison County office is currently located in a house on West High Street in London.

“We need more space and more parking,” said Rochelle Twining, executive director, about plans to move into county-owned space between Madison County Public Health and Tractor Supply Center on Lafayette Street.

The challenge, she said, is covering the cost of remodeling the 5,000 square-foot space on Lafayette Street. The lowest quote the agency received was $140,000.

“That’s too much for us,” said Twining. The agency had estimated the cost would be closer to $80,000.

On Aug. 7, Twining met with the Madison County commissioners, who oversee rental of the space on Lafayette, to discuss possible alternatives.

She asked if the commissioners would consider renting the space to the agency at little or no cost for 15 years if the agency covered the $140,000 remodel.

A second idea, she said, would be to switch to cubicles instead of built-out walls to possibly cut down on remodeling costs. The agency would need time to research cubicle costs, further delaying a decision on moving forward with the lease with the county.

“We don’t want to give up on the site. It’s a great location for our clients,” Twining said.

Commissioner David Dhume told Twining not to worry about delays. The county wants to provide the agency with space for the good work they do for the community, he said.

Commissioner Mark Forrest said the county is already offering the agency a low rental rate—$1,000 a month—which he said is roughly one-third of the open-market rate for the space. The county also is covering the cost of heating, cooling and lighting needs for the space.

“I think we’ve offered what we can offer,” Forrest said in regard to Twining’s request for a reduction or elimination of lease fees.

Dhume suggested the agency consider using a smaller portion of the available space to potentially reduce its remodeling costs.

“Do what you need to do to get into the space (soon), then grow as you need to (and can afford to),” Dhume suggested.

Forrest said the cubicle idea would be cost effective.

Twining said the agency will look into cubicle costs and consider using less space. She said she still wants to talk to the commissioners about long-term lease details.

Twining said the agency’s board will meet Sept. 24 to discuss options and costs and decide on funding for the potential move. The agency receives most of its funding from grants and is considering getting a loan for the remodel. It is renting its current location on a month-to-month basis.

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