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Council approves donation request from Bethany Haven/Room At The Inn program

By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Matt Bowman, chair of the Bethany Haven board of directors, explains the work the shelter and the Room At The Inn do in our community. The council approved a request for a $10,000 donation.

Thursday, May 9, 2019 — The Bardstown City Council approved a donation request presented by Matt Bowman, chair of the Bethany Haven board of directors on behalf of Bethany Haven and the Room At The Inn program.

Both programs provide housing to those in need, he explained.

Room At The Inn serves those who are in emergency need of shelter — typically the homeless in Nelson County. Bethany Haven offers transitional housing for women and women with families in order to help them get back on their feed and living again on their own.

Room At The Inn program is made possible by generosity of 24 churchs and organizations who help fund and operate the program More than 100 local volunteer keep the program operating. The homeless have a safe place to sleep for a meal and a night’s sleep, and receive a sack lunch when they leave the next morning.

Fifty-five percent of the Room At The Inn program are men, the rest are female. Bowman said when he became chairman three years ago, he wasn’t aware of the county’s homelessness problems.

As a transitional shelter, Bethany Haven residents stay an average of four months, Bowman said. Food and housing are provided at no charge. Most Bethany Haven residents have jobs, and the shelter allows them to save money for their own housing.

Bethany Haven residents face a new problem however — the growing lack of affordable housing for low-income families, which makes it more difficult for the working poor to leave the shelter.

Mayor Dick Heaton told the council he sees homelessness as both a public health issure and a safety issue. He suggested the city divide the $10,000 donation between this fiscal year’s budget and the 2019-2020 budget.

The donation request indicates that the plans for the money include utilities, interior maintenance, supplies and insurance.

The motion was approved in a 5-0 vote. Councilman David Dones was absent.

The Dobbs House, 118 East Stephen Foster Ave., will be moved on Friday night, May 17, 2019, to an empty lot on West Muir. The house is located next to the Newcomb Oil Co.’s Five Star Food Mart. The store will be demolished and replaced once the Dobbs House is relocated.

DOBBS HOUSE RELOCATION. Jason Harrod of BCD Construction addressed the council about plans to move the “Dobbs House” — the historic home located at 118 E. Stephen Foster next to the Five Star Food Mart. Harrod also requested the city’s assistance with the coming move.

The Newcomb Oil Co. has owned the home since 1998, and the house stands in the way of the company’s plans to replace the existing Five Star with a more modern store.

Newcomb Oil had requested permission to demolish the house from the Historic Review Board. That request was denied, and the city council upheld Newcomb’s appeal. Newcomb Oil sued the city over the denial.

As a resolution of the lawsuit, Newcomb proposed a new store that will more closely resemble other structures on the block. Part of that process would include moving the Dobbs House to an empty lot at 107 West Muir Ave.

According to Harrod, the brick has been removed from the Dobbs House in preparation for the move. The Muir Avenue site is being prepared to receive the new home.

The home will be moved on the night of Friday, May 17, 2019.

The home will be moved down East Stephen Foster Avenue and will be moved the 3/4 way around the Court Square onto South Third Street.

Harrod asked the council if the city could prohibit parking overnight on the night of May 17, 2019 between the Court Square and Muir Avenue. The request will allow the movers the room to move the home down the street and avoid interference from tree limbs hanging out over the roadway.

The moving company will need both sides of South Third Street to avoid hitting some of the low-hanging tree limbs.

The move will begin at about midnight and should be done in about an hour, he said.

Harrod also said BCD will use off-duty police officers as escorts for the moving operation and traffic control. The house will be moved in one piece, he explained.

The council approved the request in a 5-0 vote.

In other business, the council:

— received an update on the evolving mission of the Lincoln Trail Health Department from its Sara Jo Best, its executive director.

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