GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Approximately 2,400 families rely on the Food Pantry of Green Cove Springs, according to city manager Steve Kennedy. With the pantry being renovated with money obtained through the CARES Act, the city moved quickly to find a new home for the pantry.
The pantry, located at 1107 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, the Thomas Hogans Memorial Gymnasium and the still-in-construction Augusta Savage Center Library and Mentoring Center are currently being renovated.
The city has allocated $150,000 from the CARES act for the building improvements, which will be made during the course of the renovation.
“It’s not anticipated that the city will have to – or the county – anybody will have to put any additional funds for the building,” said Kennedy.
Besides the increase in square footage, the building will also have a rollup door (similar to those found in a garage). With having a rollup door, the pantry will be able to receive bigger deliveries. They will also be able to better stage prepared food bags for families.
“Now they’ve just got a regular-sized door,” Kennedy said. “If you get a big box of something or a pallet of something, you’ve got to take it off of the pallet and then go stack it. This way, they could stage a little bit better. There would be a big enough space that they could have multiple instead of trying to do it in one small area.”
The food pantry now is temporarily located at 220 Palmer St., while work is being done at the original location.
“It’s gonna be amazing,” said William Bland, Chairman of the Board and food pantry volunteer, of the improvements to the permanent building. “Everything had to be funneled into narrow openings and we were kind of standing on top of each other. Now we’re going to be able to spread out and having a designated flow from one end to the other. People won’ t have to be crossing each other to get the job done. We’re real excited about the changes.”
The project is anticipated to be completed around February 2021.
“We’re looking about four of five months,” said Kennedy. “The CARES money has to be spent by Dec. 30. I would anticipate us probably being through by the end of the year. It’s not building a new building; it’s primarily all inside.
“They’re just starting within the last week or so. We’re just looking at February for it to be completed and having it occupied. They’ve ordered some new items; some different refrigeration units so they can store more perishable food items, so they’ve got to have those installed.”
There may be a few weeks between completion (maybe 30 days) of the actual renovation and the occupancy of the building. Foodstuffs, appliances, shelving, etc. will need to be moved back into and reconfigured in the building.
Once completed, the square footage is slated to increase from about 2,100 feet to 2,800 feet.