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Groups ironing out details of shelter move
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Though the hubbub surrounding Monday night's Covington City Council homeless shelter decision has yet to subside, the involved nonprofits have already set tentative move-in dates for the property on Tuner Lake Circle.

The council narrowly approved a proposal to spend approximately $1 million from the proceeds of the sale of Covington Cable on the purchase of three buildings located on Turner Lake Circle. The buildings will be run by the Covington Housing Authority.

The Rainbow Covenant Ministries homeless shelter, currently located in Porterdale, will lease space from the Housing Authority. FaithWorks is expected to lease space on the property as well. Less certain is the possibility that the Community Food Pantry would relocate to the property.

While the homeless shelter will likely not move into the buildings until February or March 2008, FaithWorks might move in, in as little as two months.

According to Covington City Manager Steve Horton, property owner Bill Norton has agreed to sell the buildings, located at 7153 Turner Lake Circle, to the city at the appraisal value quoted by Covington Mayor Sam Ramsey of $980,000.

Horton said he expected the building purchase to be complete by Oct. 1.

Some repairs will need to be made to the buildings including the installation of a sprinkler system which Horton estimated to cost $30,000.

"It wasn't a big expense when you consider the size of the real estate," Horton said of the sprinkler system.

Other repairs the Housing Authority will likely have to undertake include the replacement of five rotting windows and two rotting doors in the building that FaithWorks and the food pantry would occupy said FaithWorks Chairman Bob Furnad.

Furnad also said the air conditioning units and heating units in the building have not been used in several years and need to be tested.

"We're obviously going to find out what's working and what's not working before we take the place," Furnad said of the building which has sat empty for some time. "I've got to see the lease first."

Any other improvements to the space will be paid for by funds raised by FaithWorks said Furnad.

"There's a fair amount to be done in there," Furnad said. "At best it will take six week to two months. At worst it could take two months or more. We would hope to be in by our second anniversary on January 28."

Furnad said 1,600 square feet in the building would be occupied by FaithWorks with the remaining 1,400 square feet left for the Community Food Pantry.

FaithWorks is currently located at 3104 Thelma Street in Covington.

The Reverend Clara Lett, director of Rainbow Covenant Ministries, said she expected the shelter to move to Covington in either February or March, 2008. The shelter would occupy 14,000 square feet in its new location.

The Rainbow Covenant Ministries homeless shelter currently occupies four buildings scattered throughout Porterdale. The organization pays rent to four landlords. Rent and utilities combined are $6,020 a month said Lett.

Lett said she was told utilities at Turner Lake would be $3,000 a month. Rent with the Covington Housing Authority has not yet been discussed she said.

As for the Community Food Pantry, the Rev. Billy Wade, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Covington, said the church has not yet decided if they will relocate the pantry to Turner Lake Circle. The church provides space for the food pantry at 1114 Brown Street in downtown Covington

Wade said the building the food pantry is currently located at is deteriorating and that the pantry would eventually have to be relocated elsewhere.

"We would love for the food pantry to stay there, but at the moment we don't have money to replace the building," Wade said. "We have looked at the building where FaithWorks is supposed to go. That looks like a pretty good location.

"Neither the church here nor the Food Pantry Board has made any decision or been officially offered that space. It's all kind of hanging in the air. As far as we know the current location is all right for now," Wade said.

Wade said the Session of the First Presbyterian Church would have to discuss where funds for monthly rent for the food pantry would come from if it were to move to Turner Lake Circle.

The food pantry is supported by monetary and food donations by a number of local churches, civic organizations and individual contributions.