By Gari Voss
The Allegan City Council wrapped up a sale of city property, and shared reports from a variety of commissions before approving reappointments.
Safe Harbor Children’s Advocacy Center is a non-profit dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect. The staff educates children and adults about behaviors that should not
be tolerated. Their goal of child abuse prevention works hand-inhand with counseling services.
The dedicated employees and volunteers have been working in a building on the corner of Trowbridge and Walnut Streets. The number of clients has expanded as has their need for a larger facility. Providing support to their individuals and groups led them on a journey to seek a new facility.
In November 2019, Perrigo generously donated a building on the corner of State and Brady
Streets to Safe Harbor hoping it would assist in their desire to expand. After an extensive
examination of the facility and the determination that it would require $850,000 to retrofit the
current building, they reluctantly sought another space for the Center’s programs. That led them to a 1.38 acre City-owned lot on Sherman Street just behind the bowling alley.
In his background information, City Manager Joel Dye stated, “Considering the value of service that Safe Harbor provides to the community and their partnership with the City when investigating crimes against children, staff suggested that Safe Harbor offer the City $1.00 for this parcel. While the city in recent years has requested compensation closer to market value, in this instance, staff feels $1.00 is just compensation for this parcel.”
Lori Antkoviak, the Executive Director of Safe Harbor, shared that this purchase would allow
the organization to move from a building a little over 3000 square feet to a facility of 7000 square feet. They plan on breaking ground and beginning construction by May.
The sale of the property had been published three times in the Allegan County News so the
City Council held their Public Hearing regarding the sale of the city-owned property on Sherman Street to Safe Harbor for $1.00. The purchase and development agreement was approved.
In other business, Rachel McKenzie shared that the Historic District Commission elected their
new officers with Jill Bentley, Chairperson, and Mike Morton, Vice-Chairperson. In addition, the Commission approved the request from Tantrick Brewing to install new signage on two sides of 243 Hubbard Street, the signage on the 101 Brady Street hotel, and the signage for the Jade Estates Inn at 302 Cutler Street.
Councilmember Peter Hanse reviewed the activities of the Airport Advisory Board including the election of Andy Millin as Chairperson for 2021. The Board reviewed the tenancy of the T-Hangers at the airport and the list of Capital Improvements that have been slated for completion over the next 6 years. These would begin with the repair of the crack sealing on the taxi lane in 2021 followed by the construction of an 8-unit T-Hangar in 2022. Members brainstormed ways to add amenities such as a vending machine for airplane necessities, some restroom facilities closer to the current T-Hangers, and extending Internet to the T-Hangers.
Dye highlighted the proceedings from the Zoning Board of Appeals where Jon Cook was
appointed chairperson for the meeting and Alex Wilkening was appointed secretary. The Board reviewed and approved the request from Hotel Ventures, LLC for a height variance of 7 feet for 101 Brady Street after hearing from Jason Watts to deny the application. The Board went on to allow the construction of an addition to courthouse at 113 Chestnut Street since it will come closer to Trowbridge Street than what is allowed in the Zoning Ordinances.
Mayor Delora Andrus asked that the Council approve the appoint of Kelly McLean to the Downtown Development Authority Board for 3 years, Mike Morton to the Historic District Commission for 2 years, Eddie Quinones-Walker to the Historic District Commission for 2 years, and Paula Mintek to the Public Spaces Committee for 2 years. These are all reappointments.
Roger Bird shared seeing construction workers on Locust Street, which is a indication of
bringing conversations and plans to fruition. Mayor Andrus acknowledge that the action on the
national level at the Capitol was disheartening, and truly mirrored that there are disagreements
across the country. She acknowledged that there are differing beliefs and ideas on the City
Council, but she respects and appreciates each member and is happy that they can discuss their
opinions and work to find solutions to improve the city.
Author: Noah Fromson
Safe Harbor served over 300 children in Allegan and Barry counties in 2018.
ALLEGAN, Mich. — An Allegan County organization that provides services to children who are victims of abuse hopes to expand its reach after receiving a new building from Perrigo.
Representatives from the consumer healthcare company, which operates in Allegan, announced Thursday, Nov. 21, the donation of a former maintenance warehouse to the Safe Harbor Children’s Advocacy Center.
The 6,000 square-foot space is nearly three times the size of the current Safe Harbor building, which has limited the organization’s ability to serve the community, Executive Director Lori Antkoviak said.
“When you only have a limited number of counseling spaces, you can’t provide that many sessions to the kids,” Antkoviak said. “We also can’t provide therapy, medical [exams] and forensic interviews all at the same time, and many times there’s a need for that.”
The new facility, which still requires renovations before it’s usable, was underutilized by Perrigo and needed a home, said Erin Bonovetz, senior vice president of OTC business for Perrigo.
“This donation alone helps us do things that we could never dream of doing for Allegan and Barry counties,” Bonovetz said. “And given Perrigo resides primarily in Allegan County, it’s going to be instrumental in helping the overall community we live and work in.”
In 2018, Safe Harbor served over 300 children in Allegan and Barry counties though the children’s advocacy program and provided counseling to 80 children. The new facility will have more forensic interviewing and therapy rooms and provide more spaces for law enforcement and child protective services agents to work cases.
“We only have one interview room [right now], so it has to serve the younger children and the older children,” said Allegan County Prosecuting Attorney Myrene Koch. “Research has shown that if you can have different rooms geared to different age groups, that is beneficial.”
Perrigo has supported many of Safe Harbor’s programs for 20 years, Antkoviak said.
“When we showed them what we were doing with so little space, they were so willing to participate and help us,” she said. “We will finally be able to do what we really need for the children.”
Safe Harbor still needs to raise $850,000 to renovate the building. The organization is kicking off a fundraising effort, “Lighting the Way,” on Dec. 3 at the new building, located at 102 Brady St.
“I think many community members see the need,” Antkoviak said. “They’ve been touched by child sexual and physical abuse by some way in their homes, families or friends. They realize how important it is for children to get the help they need.”
ALLEGAN, MI — Perrigo has donated a building in Allegan to a local safe harbor facility, which will allow the organization to expand their services and better serve children and families in the community.
Gathered under tents to protect from heavy rain on Thursday, Nov. 21, Perrigo representative Erin Bonovetzv handed the building’s keys to Safe Harbor Children’s Advocacy Center Executive Director Lori Antkoviak.
The building still needs renovations before the nonprofit can move in. The plan is to kick off a fundraising campaign in December and to break ground in spring 2020, said Erin Bonovetz, senior vice-president of OTC business for Perrigo.
The donated building was appraised at $320,000 and will allow the organization to expand from 2,400 square feet to 6,000 square feet, according to a Nov. 21 news release.
“This is a very, very critical day for the safe harbor agency,” Bonovetz said. “The donations that Perrigo is sponsoring for us is going to be critical for the agencies growth and support.”
The organization has been serving children healing from abuse in the Allegan community for over 26 years, Safe Harbor Executive Director Lori Antkoviak said.
Services provided by the organization include coordinating forensic interviews, counseling, advocacy, court advocacy and a multi-disciplinary team that works with sexual and severe physical abuse victims and their families.
New services the new facility will allow include rooms designed for specific age groups to help children be comfortable when sharing their stories, and observation rooms for law enforcement and other officials. Additional spaces will allow multiple children to take part in a variety of therapy sessions.
“Each of these essential services help children find hope and healing after abuse,” Antkoviak said. “We thank Perrigo for bringing light to children.”
Perrigo, founded in Allegan, produces store brand, over-the-counter health and wellness products. The company’s global headquarters was moved to Dublin, Ireland, in 2013, though its North American base of operations remains in Allegan.
Perrigo has owned the building for decades and it was currently not being utilized, Bonovetz said. Safe Harbor took possession of the building about two weeks ago.
Pat Hodapp, vice-president of operations finance for Perrigo, is on Safe Harbor’s board of directors and he “put the pieces together” after recognizing the opportunity for the company to to give back to the community, Bonovetz said.
“[We] pride ourselves in being responsible corporate citizens by giving back to the community,” Hodapp said. “We want to ensure Allegan continues to be a safe haven for children and families across the region.”
ALLEGAN, Mich. — Perrigo announced Thursday that it’s giving West Michigan children an early Thanksgiving gift.
Safe Harbor Children’s Advocacy Center will be given a former Perrigo plant building appraised at $320,000 to expand services for victims of child abuse and neglect in Allegan.
“Perrigo’s donation of this building will light the way for children to light the way of healing after abuse,” Safe Harbor Executive Director Lori Antkoviak said at a media event Thursday.
The building is more than double the size of the current center.
Antikoviak said the building that Safe Harbor has been operating out of only allows three children to be cared for at a time and the new building allows significantly more children to be cared for since it’s designed to provide multiple services at once.
She said there will be rooms for children based on their age so they can be in an environment most comfortable to them when they have to do interviews that require them to share their experiences of abuse.
“All while law enforcement, Child Protective Services, and the prosecuting attorney will be able to watch each interview in separate observation rooms,” Antikoviak said.
She said this is significant because the different government agencies will be able to listen to the child’s interview at once instead of the child having to go to each agency to tell their story of abuse multiple times.
Perrigo said the building will include counseling rooms, forensic interview rooms, and a medical suite.
“Each of these essential services help children find hope and healing after abuse,” Antikoviak said.
Perrigo Vice President of Operation Strategies Pat Hodapp said at the media event that the company has a more than 130-year history with the Allegan community. The company is one of the largest employers in the area.
“I can’t imagine a more worthy cause than an organization that protects children and our future,” Hodapp said. “We want to ensure Allegan continues to be a safe haven for children and families across the region.”
By:FOX 17 News
ALLEGAN, Mich. — Perrigo is donating a building to an organization that protects children of child abuse.
The company held a ceremony Thursday to present the keys to the $320,000 building to Safe Harbor Children’s Advocacy Center. It will give Safe Harbor another 3,600 square feet of space to operate in and allow room for a medical suite, forensic interviews and counseling rooms.
The building, located at 102 Brady St. in Allegan, was renovated from a plant to a space for public use instead of commercial work. Safe Harbor will continue with renovations inside now that it owns the building.