Declaration House construction begins in summer

By on February 28, 2018

The Denver House at 240 Main St. Photo by Alice Hummer. 

The former Denver House, 240 Main Street, will become the Declaration House when construction is completed sometime in 2019.

Denver Council on Feb. 26 heard a comprehensive project update from Rod Redcay, executive director of REAL Life Community Services, the new owner of the property.

“Fundraising for the $1.7 million project is at the half-way mark, and we’ve not gone public with the campaign yet,” said Redcay. “We’re looking to break ground this summer, and we’ll get the necessary permits filed soon.”

Plans call for ten affordable apartments and an array of services, including medical, dental and psychological.

Denver has a need for the services. Previously Welsh Mountain Chief Executive Officer, Georgette Dukes McAllister, reported to council in fall of 2016 that Denver has 300 residents coming to them for services. Partnering with Welsh Mountain makes sense and will benefit the area.

Denver has no public transportation. To that end, and to support the community’s other needs better, the Northern Lancaster Community Hub was formed, said Redcay. Eighteen different county agencies have pledged cooperation to work together, and more than a half dozen agency representatives were on hand at the council meeting.

Penny Talbert, Director of Ephrata Public Library, explained how various agencies will be able to use office space in the Exploratorium, a building adjacent to the library on route 272. Talbert envisioned different agency representatives sharing office space on different days. The Exploratorium added approximately 10,000 square feet of space for the library. Talbert said the library is a free service for the public, and is open to facilitating other public services.

Declaration House will be a hub for services, said Redcay. All services will be open to the public, not just residents of Declaration House.

Redcay concluded by explaining that the Hub at the end of April will learn if it’s awarded a large grant for which it applied. Either way, the coalition of agencies is poised to execute plans making access to needed services less of a hardship for a large number of local people.

In other business, council:

  • Approved a letter of support for COBY’S Family Services and the Cocalico School District for implementation of the Communities that Care process. Holly Hardin, supervisor of COBY’S Family Life Education Department, summarized the process.
  • Authorized council president, Blake Daub, to execute the 2018 Tree Vitalize Grant awarded to the borough for $8,850.50. These funds will go toward riparian buffer planting at the former Denver House property.
  • Heard East Cocalico Police Chief’s January report. Denver had 164 calls for service. The two new police officers hired are doing their “in field” training. They each will have seven weeks of day shift and seven weeks of night shift. Residents may dispose of unused or outdated drugs anytime during police department regular business hours. The disposal box in the police lobby at 100 Hill Road is provided through a Rite Aid Pharmacy grant.

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