Ground broken for community building

By Mandy Mahan

During the October First Friday festivities in Downtown Wabash, a groundbreaking took place to mark the beginning of construction for the new location of Lighthouse Mission.

The Lighthouse Mission, along with F.I.S.H of Wabash County food pantry, Advantage Housing and 85 Hope Medical Clinic will be relocating to 123 W. Canal St., located at the corner of Canal and Cass Streets.

The thrift store has been looking for a new and larger location for a couple of years, according to Kristi Clark, board member of Lighthouse Mission.

“This new building will be able to provide food, clothing, housing and medical needs to those in our community,” said Clark.

The mission received a $500,000 grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural affairs.

“The state of Indiana distributes community development block grant funds to rural communities which assists local governments with various community projects such as infrastructure improvement, downtown revitalization, public facilities and economic development,” Clark said to the crowd at the groundbreaking.

Also, during the groundbreaking, Clark pointed out that the community has contributed greatly, with monetary donations equaling $230,000. She called Remi to the front, an 8-year-old from Wabash who auctioned off his X-Box and wanted to give to a community project and ultimately ended up donating the $100 he made to the Lighthouse Mission building fund.

The crowd cheered for Remi as Clark continued.

“It takes little kids like that and you and the community of Wabash to help us get to the point we are,” she said.

Also speaking at the groundbreaking was Matt Crouch, interim executive director for the Office of Community and Rural Affairs.

“I had planned on not even working today,” he said. “But when I was invited to come to Wabash, one of my favorite communities, and I know at the state we aren’t supposed to have favorites, but Wabash is certainly one of those. Wabash County and this project in particular, with all of the collaboration that is going on from the city and Lighthouse Mission to the economic development to the county to all the countless non-profit groups, it was hard to say no to being here today. When we are looking for rural communities that are trying to work together and collaborate to make the highest quality of services for their residents, there is no one in the state that is better at doing that kind of work than the city of Wabash.”

Mayor Scott Long also gave remarks, saying that this groundbreaking marks a great night for Wabash.

“We have worked for two and a half to three years to try and locate a new facility for the Mission and seemed like every time we got close, something happened,” he said. “When this opportunity arose and some people wanted to tear down this building and make it a parking lot, I fought really hard against that in working with Kristi to try and get this building. The benefits to Wabash and Wabash County are going to be well into the future.”

Construction on the new location started Monday, Oct. 5, and is projected to be done by mid to late spring. 

Posted on 2020 Oct 06