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United Methodist Children’s home signs leases to relocate residents, offices

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United Methodist Children’s home signs leases to relocate residents, offices

The former United Methodist Children's Home campus in Decatur. The campus is now called Legacy Park. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

The United Methodist Children’s Home in Decatur. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

The United Methodist Children’s Home has signed leases for new residences and offices following its decision to relocate from its Decatur campus.

The city of Decatur is buying the 77-acre property on South Columbia Drive and the facility will be vacated in the late summer or early fall.

UMCH officials have signed leases in Tucker and Clarkston, a press release says.

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“The new program residences – for which occupancy is slated as early as mid-August – will provide future housing for clients currently under UMCH’s care at the ministry’s Decatur campus, including those we serve in Independent Living and Family Housing ministries,” the announcement says. “UMCH also signed a lease for new administrative and volunteer office space and UMCH Flea Market at 1967 Lakeside Parkway, Building 400 in Tucker.”

Peyton Wimberly of Cushman & Wakefield represented UMCH in the lease negotiation process process.

“We now have a new residential base from which to expand our ministry,” UMCH President and CEO Rev. Hal Jones said in the press release. “This milestone opens a much wider path to continue providing services to people in DeKalb County, and to serve many more people in new communities across North Georgia.”

He added, “The new space is perfectly suited for UMCH staff to provide services to clients in Foster Care, Family Housing, Independent Living and Transitional Living. The site also provides a new location for the UMCH Flea Market, a decades-long tradition that will continue.”

There are currently 75 employees at UMCH and thousands of volunteers. The new spaces will provide for training, foster family visitations, career coaching, music therapy and more.

Decatur intends to use the UMCH campus as a public space and will also hold a community input process to determine the specific use of the UMCH campus. As part of the deal, the city has agreed to preserve the grave of UMCH founder Jesse Boring. UMCH will also retain ownership of the Moore Chapel on campus.

“The sale also created a preservation covenant honoring the unparalleled tenure of Bev Cochran, former CEO of The Children’s Home, who led the ministry for 43 years, from 1968 to 2012,” the press release from UMCH says. “The city of Decatur and The Children’s Home agreed to name the existing administration building at 500 South Columbia Drive – which will remain in use by the city – in memory of Cochran, touching the lives of thousands of UMCH alumni, their children and grandchildren.”

UMCH will move into its new space sometime this fall, the press release says. There are 80 people housed on the campus currently.

“UMCH is committed to providing uninterrupted services and continued support to its residents, and will work with them on relocations based on individual needs,” the press release says. “Current and future residents will move from group home cottages on the campus to more modern, safe and appropriate housing.”

Jones says selling the campus will allow the organization to grow its list of families and children served by 25 percent, allowing it to help more than 300 people per day. UMCH is currently plans to launch a new foster care program in Augusta, Ga.

The new residential location is in Tucker and close to the new UMCH office. The other residential location is in Clarkston. The office space has 50,000 square feet available for the flea market, meeting, training and office spaces.

UMCH still needs donations and volunteers. People can donate by visiting www.umchildrenshome.org or continue to mail donations to 500 S. Columbia Drive, Decatur, Ga., 30030. People interested in volunteering can send an email to [email protected]

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