The Journal Gazette
Friday, January 10, 2020 1:00 am

Rescue Mission gives look at new downtown building


Officials from the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission led members of the media on a tour of the nonprofit organization's new facility under construction at 404 E. Washington Blvd.

Those on the tour were greeted by workers in hard hats on construction lifts and construction-related fencing on the outside of the building, which will provide emergency and temporary shelter for homeless men.

Inside were plenty of empty spaces, which eventually will become a kitchen, dining hall, chapel, sleeping quarters, a community resource center and a health clinic.

Ground was broken in April for the $23.1 million project, which will replace the mission's current shelter at 301 W. Superior St. The projected opening is by the end of the summer, said Blake Douglas, the mission's director of marketing.

Douglas said the tour's goal was to give first-time access to the interior of the rapidly rising four-story building, which stands on a highly visible downtown corner.

Media outlets recently have been asking to be able to photograph and take video of the progress, he said.

The mission is in the midst of the public phase of its fundraising campaign, which has a goal of $4 million, Douglas said, adding he does not know how much remains to be raised.

“We've raised enough for the building, but this (remaining money) is to ensure that when we move into the building we will be financially stable,” he said.

Operating costs will be higher in the larger building, Douglas said.

The new building will have 80,000 square feet, more than triple the current mission, and will house up to 325 beds, although not all may be ready when the facility opens. The current mission has 75 beds but also uses cots, sometimes more than 80 of them.

Douglas said tours for the public will be scheduled at some point.

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