A recently approved property exchange has the potential to greatly impact two local groups.
Steps to HOPE, a non-profit that provides secure, emergency shelter and counseling services to Polk County residents who are victims of domestic violence and/or sexual abuse, asked to exchange properties with Polk County to expand its existing facility.
Steps to HOPE provides free shelter services and its current facility, due to the ever-increasing problem in confronting and reducing domestic violence, has proven to be woefully inadequate. Steps to HOPE has operated its facility for 33 years at its current location. The hope, after this completed property exchange, is to build a new one-story building with an increased number of individual shelter rooms.
The Polk County Board of Commissioners recently approved the exchange of an unused piece of property the county owned with a piece of property that Steps to HOPE wasn’t using. The Polk County Board of Elections will use the old Red Cross Building at 231 Ward Street in Columbus as its new home.
“Steps to HOPE is very excited that we are able to look forward to building a new shelter to serve the needs of Polk County and our neighboring communities,” said Steps to HOPE President Patty Otto. “This endeavor could not have happened without the total support of a community that looks at the needs of all of our citizens. This exchange of property shows the ability of our commissioners to continue to look at the future of Polk County and the ever-changing needs of our community.”
“The Polk County Board of Elections is extremely appreciative of the Commissioner’s new property acquisition,” said Cliff Marr, who is the Polk County Board of Elections Director. “In December of 2021, the Board of Elections appealed to the Polk Commissioners for support and finances to acquire a new office and voting space. Primarily, the Board of Elections was looking to upgrade its secure storage for the voting systems and to provide a safer and more convenient location for early voting. The Commissioners listened to our needs and have demonstrated their commitment to help us continuously improve our systems and our service. County Manager Marche Pittman was quick to take advantage of the property exchange opportunity and the result is a win-win for everyone involved.”
Marr added that he hoped the Board of Election will move before the 2023 municipal elections and be fully ready to run the 2024 Presidential election cycle from the new property.
“The BOE will continue its mission to provide fair, honest, and accurate elections for Polk County,” Marr said, “and this building acquisition will allow us to improve the security, safety, and convenience in all our operations.”