Douglass Community Services breaks ground for new facility

Stephanie Cooper

Stephanie Cooper, Douglass Community Services CEO, stands beside a projected image of the new Douglass Community Services building. Megan Duncan

HANNIBAL, Mo. – When Douglass Community Services broke ground on Tuesday morning for their new facility, they also announced a groundbreaking way they will deliver services to the area.

The new building will be a hub of support, offering food, clothing, and housing assistance all under one roof rather than spread out around town. It will also house volunteer services in the new building.

The building will be at 711 Grand Avenue in front of the current Douglass building, which was once the location of the Hannibal Clinic.

Douglass CEO Stephanie Cooper said they want to make it easy for community members to receive the help they need.

“We want to make sure that they can go to one place and receive the things that they need–like food, clothing, shelter–without having to run all over town, and in and out of offices talking to multiple people,” Cooper said. 

Funding for the project comes from an award of $2 million community development block grant, and $500,000 from American Rescue Plan Act funding through the Marion County Commission. Another $1 million came from Congressman Sam Graves’ office.

Christina Carver, director of business and community solutions at the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) in Jefferson City, said Douglass’ umbrella of services in one location aligns with Governor Parson’s priorities of investing in community, infrastructure and workforce.

“The (Community Development Block grant) remains dedicated to helping rural communities and their residents prosper. While funding is limited, projects like this one can have a tremendous impact on communities,” she said. “Our staff will continue to help your community every step of the way to ensure this project is completed on time and within budget for you to help your community prosper.”

Bryan Nichols, communications director at Graves’ office, said Cooper’s request came during the same year Congress brought back the Community Project funding. Nichols said the request was submitted as part of an appropriations bill allowing them $1 million through USDA Rural Development.

“Congressman Graves saw the value in this project, because not only does it benefit the Hannibal community, but it benefits many communities across northeast Missouri, all of which are in his district,” Nichols said. “He’s proud to be a part of this project.”

Klingner and Associates and Bleigh Construction are working with Douglass on the design, engineering and construction of the project.

The secured funds will not cover all the building costs. To raise the remaining amount, Douglass will conduct a $250,000 capital campaign. Donations will be accepted and special events will support the campaign over the next year.

Stacey Nicholas, chief development officer at Douglass, said a favorite part of her job is hearing stories from the community for the more than 50 years that Douglass has been part of the community. 

“I also want to make sure that 50 years from now, the person who replaced me is also hearing those stories. So we’re asking for the community to make a contribution to this project. Big, small and in between,” she said. “If we all put our tools together, we can finish building this building.”

Two members of the community, Karen Sutor and Kristy Trevathan, have already donated to the capital campaign.

Sutor said Douglass has built trust within the community.

“They go by the mission of making stronger kids, stronger family, and stronger communities. And they do that not just words on paper for them. That’s what they live by and I feel that with the roots that they’re wanting to plant now that there’ll be a hearing in other cities,” she said. 

Trevathan, currently a candidate for the Hannibal mayor, recalled when a local church started Douglass Community Services. She also noted that her mother worked in the building when it was the Hannibal Clinic. Now her daughter, Emily Trevathan, is on the Douglass Community Services Board of Directors.

“I’m just so happy to be a part of it. It makes a big difference in our community,” she said.

Cooper said they are grateful for the old building, which was a gift to them from the Hannibal Clinic after 2006 when they closed the building and moved all services to Hospital Drive. She said many have shared memories about their times in the clinic. 

“I don’t know that the Hannibal Clinic understood the impact that they were going to make for us as an organization, and the services and the 1000s upon 1000s of people that walk through these doors receiving services,” Cooper said.

Douglass will accept one-time gifts, multi-month pledges, online electronic payments, and Venmo. They also accept donations of stocks.

For more information about the capital campaign, contact Stacey Nicholas at 573-221-3892.

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