Starke County Resource Center looks at using Lake Street structure for future facility

KNOX — Representatives from the Starke County Resource Center, a new organization aimed at providing temporary housing for displaced Starke County citizens, is eyeing the old Knights of Columbus building in Knox as a possible location to establish their facility.  

According to Knox Director of Planning, Building and Code Compliance Kenny Pfost, the building, which is located on Lake Street, is an in an area that is zoned residential. In order to establish this type of facility the organizers have to obtain a special use permit. Director Pfost noted that all property owners within 500 feet of the building have been notified and will have an opportunity to voice their support or opposition at an upcoming BZA meeting. 

The hearing with the Knox Board of Zoning Appeals is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, August 17 at the Knox Community Center. Two other, unrelated hearings regarding variances are also scheduled for the same night. 

While coronavirus concerns did slow the process a bit, Pastor Matt Ohime of the Davis Wesleyan Church in Hamlet, the president of the organization, has been in the planning stages of establishing this faith-based facility for quite some time. He explained that this type of resource has been needed for decades and it’s something they’ll be moving forward with, even if the building they’re currently looking at can’t be utilized. 

Ohime added that he’s motivated to establish community partners and coordinate with other local organizations to ensure that individuals who use the Resource Center for temporary housing will be connected with other local organizations who can assist them with additional needs such as education, employment and mental and physical care. 

He shared that the goal is to provide displaced people with some stability to allow them to focus on securing what they need to support themselves and their family.   

Even if the former Knight’s of Columbus building is acquired, there are lots of renovations that must be done to convert it from a community hall into residential living quarters. Ohime stated that it has ‘good bones’ and there are adjacent lots that come with the property that would allow for future potential future expansion. 

More details about the organization will be presented during the hearing on Monday, August 17. Questions for Pastor Ohime can be communicated through the Starke County Resource Center Facebook page or can be emailed to starkecountyrc@gmail.com.