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      Community bands together in shelter construction plan

      COVE (Communities Overcoming Violent Encounters) celebrated the upcoming start of construction of its new facility Tuesday.

      A northern Michigan community is celebrating a big milestone in the effort to protect people against violence.

      COVE (Communities Overcoming Violent Encounters) celebrated the upcoming start of construction of its new facility Tuesday. Although a planned ground-breaking ceremony was cancelled due to rain, invited guests celebrated the approaching construction start as a milestone event in the ongoing Capital Campaign for COVE.

      The Ludington-based nonprofit organization serves victims of sexual and domestic violence in Lake, Mason and Oceana counties and the new facility will be built at the location that formerly was the site of the COVE office building.

      The new energy efficient, cost-effective facility will include both shelter for clients and the COVE offices. Designed as a secure environment that enhances confidentiality for COVE clients, it will feature six separate living units for privacy, common areas for companionship, and COVE offices for immediate access to staff for guidance and support.

      The facility will also include program and meeting space and a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Suite. This specialized medical suite will allow victims of sexual assault to receive an appropriate and private examination by a medical professional right in the facility.

      The new building will replace the 112 year-old home that currently serves as the shelter as well as the cramped, 37 year-old modular office building located a mile from the shelter.

      "While we still need to raise additional funds to achieve our campaign goal, our board of directors approved beginning construction this spring," said Marie Waite, COVE Executive Director. "This facility will be the only such purpose-built facility in the state and a model for agencies in Michigan and beyond."

      "We have received wonderful support from area businesses such as House of Flavors, Great Lakes Castings, Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital, West Shore Bank, Consumer's Energy, Meijer and others," said Debra Goodwin, campaign chairperson. "Significant gifts were received from the Frey Foundation and the Sunshine Lady Foundation and combined with donations from individuals, we are approaching our goal." Goodwin added, "However, we still need donations and do have naming opportunities available."

      The ongoing Capital Campaign for COVE hopes to raise a total of $2.4 million. The campaign was begun when COVE received $1 million and $100,000 gifts from two anonymous donors. This, coupled with property COVE owned along Ludington Avenue, presented the agency with a unique opportunity to improve its services by building a new facility.

      For more information on the Capital Campaign for COVE, call: 231-233-2987 or, e-mail covecapitalcampaign@gmail.com.