Two city-owned properties in Galt are headed for a costly facelift after the City Council decided Wednesday to hand keys over to a local church hoping to turn them into a women’s shelter.
The two buildings, located on Fifth Street in Galt, were once home to the city’s Boys and Girls Club.
But after that group dissolved a year ago, the city assumed ownership of the buildings, though City Manager Jason Behrmann admitted at Wednesday’s meeting the city only did the bare minimum with keeping up the grounds.
By passing ownership to The Gathering Place, a local church headed by Pastor Larry Brand, the properties will no longer be “an eyesore” for the city.
From needing roof repair to a new paint job, repair costs total roughly $52,000.
But according to Behrmann, Brand not only brought the city a full proposal on how the buildings would be used, he said his church would cover all the costs on its own dime.
In addition to completing the repairs, the church would lease the buildings for the next 30 months and would have all repairs done in the next six months.
The proposed shelter, Behrmann said, would be geared toward serving women who are in transition from an abusive relationship, economic strife or other issues.
Unlike a homeless shelter, where people come in and out every day, women would be able to reside in the shelter from 30 to 90 days.
The shelter would be a more stable environment and would allow women to get back on their feet, Behrmann added.
However, councilman Mike Singleton pointed out that security was a major concern for places like women’s shelters.
“Angry significant others could find out where these women are living and come down there, and then we would have problems in our town,” he said.
However, representatives from The Gathering Place assured Singleton that security issues would be taken care of either in the form of around-the-clock volunteers who have been trained in security-type issues, or with the addition of a panic button that would allow the Galt Police Department to respond promptly should a security issue arise.
Allowing The Gathering Place to lease the buildings would also help the city in terms of money, Behrmann said.
“As we all know, the housing market is extremely poor right now,” he said. “We have found that there is not a lot of interest out there right now in terms of selling properties like those (on Fifth Street). But, with this proposal, things can now move forward ... and these women can have a stable environment.”
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