HANNIBAL — Douglass Community Services announced Thursday morning that it will soon begin construction of a new building.
The new building will be in the same location where the organization is currently located on Grand Avenue and is expected to be completed by spring 2024.
The new building is fully funded by a $2 million Community Development Block Grant; $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds from the Marion County Commission; and $1.5 million in additional funding, including a community facility credit from U.S. Representative Sam Graves.
Stephanie Cooper, CEO of Douglass, revealed the construction plans on Wednesday. She said the new facility will be a one stop shop for clients with needs in our community. The building will house four core services: Food Distribution, Care Closet and Thrift Store, Housing, Utilities Assistance, and CASA.
“We want to try to make it easier for our families to access the services they desperately need, so this is our way of being able to do that,” she said. “They will be able to come to a single place instead of coming to a multiple.”
Marion County Presiding Commissioner David Lomax spoke about county financial management and budgeting, which allows them to help with important community projects such as a new building for Douglass with funds from the ARPA.
Bryan Nichols, director of communications for Rep. Graves, participated in the event on behalf of Graves. Nichols said the project was a good opportunity to fill some funding gaps and be able to go through USDA rural development.
“I appreciate their efforts,” he added. “It’s a good day to see those dollars put to good use.”
Nichols said Graves is excited about it and can’t wait to see it come to fruition.
Mark Bross, office manager at Hannibal Klingner & Associates who worked on the design of the new building, said the original aim was to use the existing building for the expansion, but the maze of hallways and rooms would not wouldn’t serve the public better.
This building, which was built as the original location for the Hannibal Clinic in 1959 and later donated to Douglass Community Services, will soon be demolished to make way for the new one.
“We looked at other options and came up with a new facility that was actually cheaper,” he said. “It’s just an awesome project and we’re thrilled to be a part of it and to see it completed.”
Cooper thanked the Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments which guided the funding of ARPA. She also expressed her gratitude to her staff at Douglass, including Stacey Nicholas, Director of Development; Dan Wheelan, Chief Financial Officer; and Seth McBride, former Chairman of the Board of Douglass.
She said the announcement would not have been possible without the generous supporters who were in attendance that day.
“It was mind-blowing to be able to go back to everyone and say we actually funded everything,” she said. “And we have nothing to do except a bunch of reports.”