XENIA — City council tonight is expected to hear an update from the group trying to convert a former elementary school building into a community ministry hub.

Simon Kenton Bridges of Hope, a faith-based, non-profit corporation, wants to use the vacant Simon Kenton building on West Second Street as a one-stop shop to connect needy persons to life-enriching services.

The organization has been working for more than a year to develop plans and raise needed start-up capital. At the same time, council has been patient, several times extending a moratorium on the building’s demolition while Bridges of Hope tries to make the plan viable.

A final proposal was presented to council in October by Xenia Grace Chapel Pastor Dan Jordan and it left some council members with more questions.

Jordan asked the city to partner with Bridges of Hope by using a portion of the money set aside for the building’s demolition to match funds raised for capital improvements to the building. The city would deed the building and a reasonable portion of the land to Bridges of Hope with the stipulation that if for any reason the group ceases to exist, the ownership would revert back to the city.

The three-phase plan requires Bridges of Hope to raise $50,000 by May 31, an additional $125,000 by November and a final $125,000 by December, 2017. The city would provide $175,000 in matching funds.

Bridges of Hope would also be required to have at least two or three anchor ministries functioning and have HVAC updated and working properly. There are other repairs and improvements needed inside the building, estimated to cost as much as $1 million.

The only action taken at that October meeting was to extend a memo of understanding, allowing Bridges of Hope access to the building while it gathered more information to provide to council.

“There’s a lot of unknowns here,” Councilman Dale Louderback said at the time.

City Manager Brent Merriman said Wednesday that he has a “sense that they will have more of their ducks in a row” but there are still some questions to be answered.

“The intent (Thursday) night is for council to have enough information to determine how to move forward in the short run,” Merriman said.

The update is slated to take place during a 6:15 p.m. special session. The regular meeting will follow 7 p.m.

Scott Halasz | Greene County News The future of the former Simon Kenton Elementary School could be decided tonight.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2016/01/web1_DSC_2005.jpgScott Halasz | Greene County News The future of the former Simon Kenton Elementary School could be decided tonight.
Future of Simon Kenton building could be decided

By Scott Halasz

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Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.