YSS to remodel former police headquarters for $100K

CONTRIBUTED GRAPHICS An aerial rendering shows the local Youth and Social Services proposed remodel at the current Marshalltown Police Department headquarters, 22 N. Center St. YSS purchased the property earlier this year from the city and will begin remodeling in mid-September.

Marshalltown has dozens of stories about the tornado’s destruction being a blessing in disguise. Out of the storm’s aftermath, one local non-profit agency is finding a new home.

Youth and Shelter Services of Marshall County manages a large number of youth and family-oriented social service programs with a full-time staff of 16 and a budget of approximately $1 million annually. A volunteer board of directors sets policy carried out by staff.

For 35 years the organization rented a building in the 100 block of East State Street “faithfully providing unique services to youth and families,” said Executive Director David Hicks.

Minutes after the tornado lifted off July 19, Hicks returned to the building and fortunately found no staff had been killed or injured.

“It was emotional, I cried tears of joy,” he said.

Like hundreds of other Marshalltownians caught in the tornado’s wake, Hicks and staff rolled up their sleeves and went to work cleaning and rebuilding.

“With the roof peeled off and our space dripping with rain water, the only thing we could do was brush ourselves off and get back to the work we know and love — helping youth and families,” Hicks said.

Three days later, the building’s owner told Hicks YSS would have to vacate because the owner needed it to resume his business. Hicks turned his home into a temporary office and began looking for a new location.

“Thankfully, Marshalltown city leaders reached out and invited us to work in a 950-square-foot basement conference room in the Marshalltown Police Department headquarters,” Hicks said.

Several months later YSS made an offer to the city of $35 to purchase the building since the MPD is planning an eventual move to a new facility under construction in the 900 block of South Second Street.

“On Jan. 28th, with the support of our advisory board and encouragement by those we serve, the city accepted our offer to purchase the building,” Hicks said.

For the first time in its 35-year history, YSS will have a permanent home.

“We are excited about the city’s ongoing support of YSS in its decision to sell the building for $35,” Hicks said after the vote. “And, YSS is looking forward to being part helping rebuild downtown Marshalltown.”

Hicks, who has served as director for 16 years, said the $35 offer was linked to the organization’s 35 years of providing services to city and county youth without funding from the city.

“Youth make up 50 percent of our (the county’s) population and 100 percent of our future. We work to make youth and families viable so they can work in the community,” he said. “That is an investment the city does not have to pay.”

He and directors envision the building being a one-stop shop for human service needs.

“We would be adjacent to (the city’s Housing and Community Development Department) where we often are in lock-step with the same population, so it would be a natural partnership.”

YSS then embarked on a grant-writing initiative to several foundations to secure 80 percent of $100,000 needed to fund the building remodeling project which Hicks estimates will begin mid-September.

Hicks said the organization will appeal to local residents for the remaining $20,000.

Consequently, the YSS remodeling project will create a vestibule with a new door into the YSS office, which will allow the area as well as agency records to be secured.

There will be separate lower and upper levels in the three-story building. The proposed remodeling plan calls for a community and agency conference room.

A new roof and energy-efficient air conditioners will not be needed. The city’s insurance replaced those items recently since the MPD remains until its new facility is complete.

“Without question, this is the most exciting time in our branch’s history,” Hicks said.

“We are extremely grateful for the city letting us work in the basement conference room and then selling the building to us so we can efficiently serve even more youth and families.”

For additional information about YSS, contact 641-752-2300, or visit yss.org, or email dhicks@yss.org

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com