Ground broken on mission's future facility

At the corner of West King and Elijah streets, it is expected to cost about $3.4 million

  • Terry Lindsay, chairman of the long-range planning committee for the Martinsburg Union Rescue Mission's board of directors, stands with Chester Lewis Curry, who took part in a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for the organization's new 78-bed facility along West King Street in Martinsburg, W.Va. Curry is a resident participant in Rescue Mission programs.
Matthew Umstead, Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The grass-covered site for the Martinsburg Union Rescue Mission's future 78-bed facility was not easily penetrated by shovel Tuesday morning.

Considering the organization's struggle over the years to make Tuesday's groundbreaking ceremony possible, maybe it was only fitting that the land chosen wasn't as soft as Rescue Mission Board member Terry Lindsay hoped.

"We've been waiting so long and praying, hoping and wishing and (there have been) so many roadblocks along the way ... sometimes you wonder if it's going to happen," said longtime Mission Superintendent the Rev. William Crowe after three Mission program participants took a turn at shoveling into the ground.

"It took awhile, but we have so many friends. People believe in what we're doing," Crowe said about the project after the ceremony. "I can't find the words to tell you how I feel (today)."

Talked about for at least 40 years, the facility at the corner of West King and Elijah streets is expected to cost about $3.4 million and be completed within 18 months, officials have said.


The mission has raised about $2.2 million through community donations, and thrift store and recycling program revenue. Jefferson Security Bank has made loan financing available, if needed, said Lindsay, chairman of the long-range planning committee for the Mission's board of directors

"We're hoping not to use it," Lindsay said. "We're hoping to continue our fundraising and come up with the other $1.2 million by the time we finish the building."

With the exception of its thrift store, all of the Mission's operations will be moved into the new building, Mission officials have said. The new facility is expected to include dormitory and private rooms, a library/counseling room, multipurpose room for daily chapel services, lounge rooms, a computer room, administrative office space, kitchen and a telephone bank to assist in job searches.

Previous plans that included a 98-bed facility were denied by the City of Martinsburg in 2008.

"At times we were discouraged, but through each discouragement, I think we grew and we saw that we just needed to change and adapt and improve the plan, and eventually people saw the importance of it and how good I think its going to be for the community," Lindsay said.

When the new building opens, the existing yellow Mission building will be torn down to make room for a 32-space parking lot, according to attorney Hoy Shingleton, who has represented the Rescue Mission at various meetings with the city.

Shingleton said the organization pieced together seven parcels over the years to make the project possible.

In brief remarks, Mayor George Karos credited Shingleton and the Rescue Mission board's efforts to get the city's approval for the project, which he described as a "needed addition" for Martinsburg.

"I know the things that Mr. Shingleton had to go through with the City of Martinsburg -- all the code requirements, doing this and doing that," Karos said. "And let me tell you that it's been a labor of love because there were a lot of hurdles that this board and Mr. Shingleton had to jump over."

Shingleton said he didn't know much about the Rescue Mission before being asked to help with the city's review process for the project.

"It's really quite an organization," Shingleton said. "They've never taken a dollar of public money (for) everything they've done all these years."

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