Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 11:56 pm
It’s official: East Texas Dream Center receives occupancy certificate By Kimberly Sutton Houston Community Newspapers
It won’t be long before women and children in need of shelter, love and food will be living in the former Montgomery County Hospital on First Street in Conroe.
Shawn and Shannon Nelson, members of The Ark Church in Conroe and owners of the East Texas Dream Center, were awarded an Occupancy Certificate from the City of Conroe Thursday and closed on the purchase of the 57,000-square-foot building, known as the former Montgomery County Hospital, Friday.
Shawn Nelson attributes the help of many local individuals and businesses to achieving this milestone.
According to Shawn Nelson, local businesses including Gerald Cooper, an electrician, Joe Simmons with Moore Supply, Ed Murphy of Murphy Plumbing, Clyde Turlainen with Easco Air Conditioning, Glen Barnett with Noble Tile, Ray Mann of Natures Outlook, Dave Nelson of Nelson Pools and numerous volunteers from Riverstone, Grace Crossing and Fellowship of The Woodlands churches contributed materials and labor.
“Through many delays and frustrations, we remained confident that God would provide the right people, in His timing, to make the purchase possible,” Shannon Nelson said. “That answer to prayer came in a whirlwind of activity last week when the owner, Bill Mitchell, a developer, approached a local pilot and real estate agent, Gary Bensema, to help bring financing to the table.”
Bensema then went to a friend, local businessman Chuck Rod, and asked for help.
“I knew this could be structured into a good business deal, for a good cause, but Chuck only saw the good cause,” Bensema said. “He insisted on structuring a loan that would not inhibit the Dream Center’s ability to expand their services.”
With the Rod family funding the loan, the deal was sealed by Buzzy Darnell of Startex Title in Spring, whose team waived some buyer costs and obtained a title commitment, within a single business day, to meet the funding deadline, according to Shannon Nelson.
“Mitchell, from first involvement with the Dream Center, had helped greatly, but more was needed,” Bensema said. “The final purchase price reflects a $200,000 reduction from the original price.”
To accomplish this, Mitchell enlisted the aid of the prior owner, former Conroe resident David Thornberry, who agreed to a $65,000 reduction to what was owed him, according to Nelson.
“Mitchell also provided a zero interest loan to fund the down payment,” she said.
The City of Conroe’s Community Development Assistant Director Nancy Mikeska said she is amazed by the Nelson’s commitment to serving the homeless in Conroe.
“No one will know the true value a safe and sanitary place can bring to a person, unless you have walked in those shoes, but if one life is changed for the good, then all of their hard work will be worth every ounce of effort,” Mikeska said.
The Dream Center still needs contributions and is planning a fundraising campaign to faithfully fulfill that obligation, Nelson said.
“We are thrilled. Years of seeing miracles, as faith and obedience are rewarded, has led us to expect God to meet needs in amazing ways,” Nelson said. “The Occupancy Certificate and the purchase of the property are huge milestones, but there are still many ways in which people, with a heart for human services, can help,” she said.
The Dream Center will host a golf tournament May 18 for donations.
Contact the Dream Center at www.easttexasdreamcenter.org.
“We need your prayer support, for the Dream Center, but also, for blessings on all the businesses and individuals who are, now, forever, a part of the Dream,” Nelson said.