Center for Growth and Hope has targeted opening date in spite of recent project setbacks

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, August 29, 2023

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In early 2023, Johnny Templin and the Jessamine County Homeless Coalition (JCHC) were preparing for a May 2023 opening date of the new Center for Growth and Hope on Main Street in Nicholasville.

Aside from the new center, the JCHC runs programming and emergency housing at the shelter on Maple Avenue. However, Templin has been working with his team to build something new for the community.

The Center for Growth and Hope on 514 North Main St. will be a more extensive and longer-term rehabilitation center with expanded services that the emergency shelter does not offer. It will serve veterans and people impacted by substance abuse and domestic violence and will be the county’s only one of its kind.

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Last spring, the JCHC ran into misfortune with a second property that it was relying on to fund the final construction elements of the Center for Growth and Hope.

Having bought the property on 506 Broadway St. in 2019, Templin and the JCHC team were prepared to gain a $200,000 profit after selling.

“We did have it under contract with a reputable builder that’s recently built at least a few neighborhoods in town,” Templin, who is JCHC’s executive director, said.

However, this potential buyer backed out after a soil test revealed that the property was full of toxic chemicals such as arsenic and lead. This put a wrench in the plans for a May 2023 opening- and the center’s funding.

The Jessamine County Schools Board of Education previously owned the property, and Templin believes they are responsible for using the land as a dump site, contaminating the soil.

In June, city officials met with the Kentucky Energy and Environment Protection Cabinet in Frankfort to discuss the soil contamination of 506 Broadway.

After this meeting, Mayor Alex Carter told the Journal that the city could apply to do an environmental assessment of the property to determine appropriate future uses and that it intends to apply for these funds and have further assessments performed on behalf of the JCHC to “determine a way forward for this property.”

We hope to have a future meeting with the state and the JCHC to work towards a resolution,” Carter said.

As of Wednesday, Aug. 23, Templin said no one had contacted the JCHC regarding the issue.

Although the JCHC is at a standstill with its 506 Broadway property, it has moved forward swiftly with the Center for Growth and Hope.

The coalition has found a new funding mechanism for its plans.

“We found someone who’s already been helping us since day one. He invested in us and gave us enough money to remodel the building inside.” Templin said.

They’re still not out of the dark, according to Templin- the coalition still needs $35,000 to finish the inside of the building and begin serving the community.

“Three months after we get the facility open, we’ll be about 85 percent self-sufficient,” Templin said.

The JCHC has made much progress on the remodel and expects the center to open in December.

“God makes a way, one way or another,” Templin said.