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Fayetteville council supports expansion for Peace at Home Family Shelter

by Stacy Ryburn | February 2, 2022 at 7:25 a.m.
The Peace at Home Family Shelter Thrift Store is seen Friday, May 7, 2021, at 1200 Garland Ave. in Fayetteville. The nonprofit, Peace at Home Family Shelter, has plans to double the size of its emergency shelter, have more outdoor greenspace and build a pet sanctuary in memory of Candy Clark. (File photo/NWA Democrat-Gazette/David Gottschalk)

FAYETTEVILLE -- A shelter for survivors of domestic violence will be able to expand its facility and add a spot for pets after a City Council vote Tuesday.

Council members voted 7-0 on two proposals from Peace at Home Family Shelter. The first was to sell land the city owns adjacent to the shelter for $80,000. The second was to change the shelter's original zoning plan to accommodate the expansion.

The shelter provides refuge for people who have experienced domestic violence and their families. More than 1,000 calls come through the shelter's crisis hotline annually. Services include emergency shelter, housing assistance, legal aid, education and counseling.

The city sold 1.5 acres near Lake Fayetteville to Peace at Home in 2005. The shelter opened its current building in 2008 with a dozen staff members and an annual budget of less than $800,000. It now has 35 employees and a more than $2.5 million budget.

Teresa Mills, the organization's chief executive officer, said the council's vote would help Peace at Home continue its operation for the next several years. Building the animal sanctuary also will ensure all family members, including the four-legged ones, will have a safe place. Domestic violence and animal abuse often are connected, she said.

"Peace at Home is committed to serving victims in our growing community," Mills said. "In order to do that, we are going to need additional space."

The city will sell 4 acres to the nonprofit at $20,000 per acre, the same price as in 2005.

The shelter has space for about 50 people now. The plan is to expand the facility to accommodate up to about 100 people, and each family would have their own unit and bathroom. Work is expected to take three to five years.

Some residents had concerns about the potential size of the facility during a Jan. 10 Planning Commission meeting. Subsequently, the commission recommended limiting the height of any buildings to three stories. No one from the public spoke Tuesday.

The pet sanctuary will be dedicated to Candy Clark, a former Washington County Quorum Court member who helped found what became the Animal League of Washington County. She also served as the first director of the Humane Society of the Ozarks. Clark died in December 2020 at age 64.

Council member Mark Kinion said Clark was a leader in her community who worked tirelessly to help animals.

"I do think we need to take a minute and appreciate the memorial to Candy that will be so perfect," he said.

Mayor Lioneld Jordan also recognized Clark and said he has long supported Peace at Home. The organization provides stability and safety to people who have suffered from abuse, he said.

"It gives the survivors of domestic violence hope when they don't think they have a chance," Jordan said. "It is an honor for me and this city to partner with Peace at Home."

In other business, the council voted 6-0 to rezone nearly 2 acres south of Cherry Street and School Avenue to allow low-density single-family housing for Habitat for Humanity. The land lies behind White Star Tavern. Council member Sarah Bunch was absent for the vote.

Brandon Swoboda, executive director for Habitat for Humanity of Washington County, said finding affordable land is a challenge in Northwest Arkansas. The organization and the city plan to work together to get utilities extended to the site, which will help keep costs down. Lower costs will help keep the price of a home affordable for a lower income family, he said.

Families approved for homes with Habitat for Humanity must contribute 300 to 400 hours of sweat equity, Swoboda said. The families buy the home with a zero-interest loan and still have to pay a mortgage, taxes and insurance, he said.

Council action

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Fayetteville’s City Council met Tuesday and approved:

A budget adjustment allowing up to $350,000 in spending to cover landfill fees to haul biosolids. The council also approved an agreement with Griffin Residuals to temporarily replace the city’s biosolids dryer after the equipment had a catastrophic failure in December.

A $113,400 contract with 7 Hills Homeless Center for services to residents in need or experiencing homelessness.

Rezoning 3 acres east of Razorback Road near Cato Springs Road to allow a mix of residential and commercial land uses with buildings closer to the street and up to three stories tall.

Rezoning nearly 4 acres at Leflar Way, south of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, from a multifamily zoning to allow a mix of residential and commercial uses.

Additionally, the city recognized Fire Department and Central EMS employees Matthew Sallee, Matt Daniels, Jason Morgan, Jake Thompson, Damon Byrum, Zachary Talbert, Stuart Jones, Landon Harris, Burl Worden and Justin McEntire for responding to a cardiac arrest call Oct. 27 and reviving the patient.

The city also gave Dorothy Wilks, 101, a certificate of recognition as the oldest African American resident in the city.

Source: Fayetteville


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