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Columbus Rescue Mission relocating to more spacious location

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Columbus Council Members Fourth Ward John Lohr, left, Third Ward Ron Schilling and Second Ward Troy Hiemer listen during Monday's Committee of the Whole meeting. The council later approved Columbus Mission Rescue applications during its regular meeting. 

Columbus Rescue Mission Inc. took a step forward in establishing a new shelter following Columbus City Council’s approval of two of the nonprofit’s proposals.

During Monday’s city council meeting, the council members OK’d NE Columbus PropCo LLC’s application to rezone from an R-3 – multiple-family residential district – to a B-2, a general commercial district, at 1112 15th St. Additionally, the council members approved an application for a special use permit to allow a non-commercial shelter in a B-2.

NE Columbus PropCo currently owns the building of the proposed Columbus Rescue Mission location. But, the nonprofit and NE Columbus PropCo are finalizing the deal to purchase the building with the hope of closing on Friday, Columbus Rescue Mission Executive Director Nathan Joslin said.

The nonprofit’s goal is to provide food, shelter and guidance to the homeless, helping them become responsible members of society and the Lord, according to Columbus Rescue Mission’s website.

Joslin said the new facility will have more space and easier mobility compared to the nonprofit’s current shelter, 1471 25th Ave.

“We’ve been here for quite some time,” Joslin said. “The building we have has been a great blessing, however, recently we’ve run out of space plus the building here has continually had problems.”

Additionally, the current location has multiple floors while the nonprofit’s new home is only one, Joslin said.

Nathan Joslin

Columbus Rescue Mission Executive Director Nathan Joslin speaks in the mission's chapel. Joslin said he's excited for the shelter to relocate to a bigger space. 

He added Columbus Rescue Mission can also offer more family rooms at this new location. It previously had such a single designated space but even then the room was small, Joslin said.

“That’s certainly an area we look forward to expanding and being able to serve families better,” he said. “We think the (new) facility is a wonderful opportunity for the Lord to be able to transform more lives.”

Joslin said the shelter will close this Friday as it begins renovations on its new home. The facility is the former location of Morys Haven, a nursing home facility that closed in November 2019.

“Morys Haven has been vacant for a long time (so there is) a lot of repair work,” City of Columbus Community Development Director Daniel Curtis said.

Curtis said the reason for the rezoning is because a non-commercial shelter can only be in a B-2 zone.

Any rezoning application – including Columbus Rescue Mission’s – must be filed with the Community Development Director’s Office. From there, the completed application is submitted 21 calendar days before the next planning commission meeting.

The planning commission approved the NE Columbus PropCo Inc. applications on Oct. 11.

Curtis said in a publicly available memo that following the rezoning and special use permit approval, Columbus Rescue Mission needs to install some features to the building as per the city's unified land development ordinance. Columbus Rescue Mission will also do any other repair and remodel of the existing facility.

Joslin said the nonprofit doesn’t have a start date on when the new facility will be open. The uncertainty comes from the renovations, Joslin said, because Columbus Rescue Mission has to fix water damage that was sustained by the building’s fire sprinkler system.

“We have a significant amount of work that we have to do to get ready for guests,” Joslin said.

The nonprofit is accepting donations for the renovation on its website, columbusrescuemission.org/building.

Andrew Kiser is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at andrew.kiser@lee.net.

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