During the summer, we met and prayed at the property on SR 59 across from Walmart, seeking God's direction whether this was the right place to start a homeless drop-in shelter. Following God's leading, we prayed and the congregation voted to go ahead and pursue purchasing the property. Since then, we've been looking into all the physical and practical aspects of the property in detail to ensure it will be suitable and we're working on a purchase agreement with the owners.
The building and property were formerly used for retail and we've learned that the township zoning board would need to grant us a conditional use under the current zoning classification before we could use it for ministry. Utilities, both water and sewer, are also being considered. Right now, there is no city water and sewer at the property so we've been talking to county resources about possible ways to make water accessible. Right now, it has a well and septic system which won't carry the load needed by a homeless shelter. Water and sewer can be accessed across the road by Walmart but it's a question of who will be paying to drill under SR 59 to bring it across and down the road to the property.
Also in the discussion with the county and township are what changes we need to make to the building's interior. Ravenna township zoning requires that we submit blueprints of our proposed changes to the building along with a comprehensive usage description. We need to provide them with detailed plans about the activities and ministries that will be taking place. Once these two pieces are in hand at the township, they can start to assess whether they can grant a conditional usage. An architect is drawing up the blueprints and we've been given a 4-6 month timeline on completing this process.
This part of the planning will take some time but what we're doing are the necessary steps to ensure that we are allowed to have the ministry God's leading us into on this property. We need to have continued faith in God's leading and be patient in the process, whether he clears the way or closes a door.