County donates acres for Alliance building site

By Brittany Wise bwise@civitasmedia.com

February 28, 2014

The Grayson County Alliance will soon have a new home, thanks in part to a land donation from the Grayson County Fiscal Court.

The Fiscal Court voted unanimously to donate two acres of land to the non-profit organization which is dedicated to serving those in need with a variety of programs including the food pantry and the furniture program.

The land is located near the Grayson County Detention Center and the organization hopes to build a 9,500 square-foot-facility there which could house both the food bank, which currently is based out of the old hospital on East Market Street in Leitchfield, and the furniture program, which operates out of the rear of Darrell’s Landscaping.

“The Fiscal Court has been tremendously supportive of our organization over the last several years,” said James Thomason, who sits on the Alliance’s building committee.

“I can’t tell you how thankful we are to them for their support in the past and their commitment to the future in granting us this land. Hopefully, the community can pull together and soon rather than later, we can have a permanent footprint there from which to serve the county.”

Thomason said of the food pantry’s current location, “The building is deteriorating quickly. It’s not really feasible to renovate it in any meaningful way. It’s just outlived it’s usefulness, to put it bluntly. We have to try to make some kind of accommodation for the future.”

He explained that the building committee looked at a number of existing buildings in the area, but could find nothing suitable that was within the organization’s price range.

The two acres on which the group can build is a fantastic starting point, said Thomason. “We are going to take that gift, start fundraising, and try to raise enough through donations and applying for grants to build a building out there to ensure that our mission will be continued well into the future.”

He added that the group has made the decision to be “as austere as we can” in the construction of a new facility. “We don’t want anything more than what we have to have, though we want to provide for a little bit of reasonable growth for the future.”

Based on current construction costs, he said that the structure should be in the price range of $250,000 to $275,000 to construct, and that the building committee already has blueprints for the new facility.

The group will soon begin fundraising for the project and wants to stress that it will not be using its general funds for the construction of the building.

“The building fund will be a separate account and it will not use the program money. We don’t want people thinking that we’re taking money that has been donated for the purpose of providing food for the needy,” Thomason said, adding, “We have a world of generous people who donate to the food pantry, and it’s very important to us when people make a donation that it goes where they want it to go.”

Donors are welcome to earmark their funds for any of the Alliance’s specific programs or toward the building fund, as each donor sees fit.

“When you’re depending on donations to fund a project, it might take six months and it might take six years,” explained Thomason, who said that there is no definitive time-line for the construction project just yet.

He said there are three building blocks for the project: land, which has been donated by the county; a plan and vision, which the group already has in place; and money.

“We’ve got two out of three, so we’re going to start looking at the third one, and in due time, we will reach that goal,” Thomason said.