Foundation gives $2,500 for new downtown center

May 14, 2009 by

Sister Pat McLennon, left, gives Bob and Lorene Steimel a tour through what will be the new Neighbor to Neighbor center during Thursday afternoon\s party. Bob Steimel, president of the Community Foundation of Cloud County presented a $2,500 to the sisters for renovating the downtown Concordia building.

Sister Pat McLennon, left, gives Bob and Lorene Steimel a tour through what will be the new Neighbor to Neighbor center during Thursday afternoon's party. Bob Steimel, president of the Community Foundation of Cloud County presented a $2,500 to the sisters for renovating the downtown Concordia building.

The Community Foundation of Cloud County has given $2,500 in its first-ever grant to a project of the Sisters of St. Joseph, as seed money toward the planned Neighbor to Neighbor Center in downtown Concordia.

Foundation president Bob Steimel presented the check during a “Pre-Construction Party” Thursday afternoon at the South Sixth Street building that will be renovated into a center to provide a wide array of services to women and women with young children.

Steimel and his wife, Lorene, both praised the project as something badly needed for the community as they gave the check to the three Sisters of St. Joseph who have spearheaded the effort — Sisters Pat McLennon, Jean Befort and Ranoma Medina.

The Concordia-based Roman Catholic order purchased the building at 103 E. Sixth St. in late March and will essentially have to gut it, according to the sisters’ facilities administrator, Greg Gallagher, who was also on hand Thursday afternoon.

Facilities administrator Greg Gallagher, who will oversee the renovations, talks about needed work with Susan LeDuc at Thursdays gathering.

Facilities administrator Greg Gallagher, who will oversee the renovations, talks about needed work with Susan LeDuc at Thursday's gathering.

The extensive cleanup of the century-old two-story structure has already started, and old wood paneling has been torn out. Other interior features, like room partitions and restrooms that are not handicap accessible, will be removed. Gallagher said the renovation will include repairing old water damage throughout the building, and then installing all new plumbing and fixtures, plus new sheetrock, dropped ceilings, carpet and other flooring, lighting and paint. Many of the windows will be replaced as part of the restoration, and the front entrance will be modified to be handicap accessible.

On Thursday, it was hard to tell how much has already been done. The walls were bared down to the studs and torn insulation was hanging from the ceiling in places. Scattered holes opened into unused ductwork, and lighting throughout was exposed.

State Rep. Elaine Bowers, second from right, talk with Sisters Regina Ann Brummel, left, and Ramona Medins and facilities administrator Greg Gallagher Thursday afternoon.

State Rep. Elaine Bowers, second from right, talk with Sisters Regina Ann Brummel, left, and Ramona Medina and facilities administrator Greg Gallagher Thursday afternoon.

“But I love that you’re doing this ‘before,’” state Rep. Elaine Bowers, R-Concordia, told Gallagher as he showed her around the building. “It will make the ‘after’ that much more impressive.”

Neighbor to Neighbor, when it opens later this year or early in 2010, will provide a wide array of services for women and for women with young children and be a resource center to help them find other services they need, said McLennon. Services offered will likely include nutrition and parenting classes, workshops on healthy living, personal counseling and information on what help is available through other agencies. The center will also have small facilities to meet what McLennon described as “basic needs” — showers, at least two washers and dryers and a kitchen. Medina noted that services and volunteer opportunities will be added and developed as the need for them is identified.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia Development Office has taken charge of fund-raising for the project, and executive director Martha Bryant was very grateful Thursday for the community foundation’s contribution.

“This mean so much to us, because it means the community is with us,” she said.

Now in just its second year, the Community Foundation of Cloud County has awarded a little more than $95,000 since July 1, 2007.

If you’d like to help support Neighbor to Neighbor or any of the sisters’ other ministries, you can make a donation through a secure server with Amazon Simple Pay, simply by clicking on the Donate button:
















 
Sister Jean Befort, center, plans the floor plans to two women who stopped in Thursday to see whats needed at the Neighbor to Neighbor center in downtown Concordia.

Sister Jean Befort, center, explains the floor plans to two women who stopped in Thursday to see what's needed at the Neighbor to Neighbor center in downtown Concordia.

Sister Pat McLennon, right, shows Sister Marcia Allen, president of the Concordia-based Catholic order, around the planned Neighbor to Neighbor center Thursday afternoon.

Sister Pat McLennon, right, shows Sister Marcia Allen, president of the Concordia-based Catholic order, around the planned Neighbor to Neighbor center Thursday afternoon.

The table was loaded with homemade treats and punch as Thursdays Pre-Construction Party got ready to begin.

The table was loaded with homemade treats and punch as Thursday's "Pre-Construction Party" got ready to begin.

Thursdays party included a formal check presentation, with (from left) Sister Jean Befort, Sister Ramona Medina, Bob Steimel, Lorene Steimel and Sister Pat McLennon.

Thursday's party included a formal check presentation, with (from left) Sister Jean Befort, Sister Ramona Medina, Bob Steimel, Lorene Steimel and Sister Pat McLennon.

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