Two community nonprofits in Nelsonville to get expanded space

Four years ago the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) opened its new offices at 35 Public Square in Nelsonville. Having grown, FAO is now planning to renovate and expand from the second floor to the first at that location.

The project also will provide additional accommodations for the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth (APEG), which is growing, too, and needs more space of its own.

Cara Dingus Brook, president and CEO of FOA, explained that the first floor of the former Peoples Bank building is currently empty. The space was left unaltered when FAO took ownership and moved in upstairs. But with a $250,000 grant from the state, work will be done to fix up the first floor.

“The state grant will cover a significant portion of the renovation, but both the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth and the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio will also be investing in the renovation of this space so they can better meet their missions and serve the community,” said Megan Wanczyk, FAO’s vice president of Stewardship and Programs. “The final plans for the space are still being completed so we will have a more specific start date once those are finalized.”

FAO is a regional community foundation that has been serving Appalachian Ohio’s 32 counties since 1998. Last year it awarded more than $1 million in grants.

“The Foundation’s staff recently grew to be 13 team members from the eight who were on the team when we moved into the building in the summer of 2012,” Wanczyk said. “The expansion of office space will primarily provide FAO with the opportunity for our team to better meet our mission through additional convening space.”

APEG is a regional economic development agency that serves 28 counties, and it currently shares space with FAO on the second floor.

“Over the last four years APEG has grown from just me to 20 staff and an annual budget approaching $4 million,” said John Molinaro, president and CEO. “While most of our staff is distributed across the large Appalachian Ohio region, our administrative and finance team are working from the Nelsonville offices.”

“Between our growth and the Foundation’s we are both severely cramped for space, and APEG would have to move out soon without the renovation project,” added Molinaro. “The renovation will allow economic reuse of one more property on the historic Nelsonville Public Square. Sharing space will help keep costs down and improve services for both organizations.”

The Peoples Bank building on the corner of Washington Street was home to the bank branch until 2009. The structure was donated to FAO when the bank moved to a new location in Nelsonville.

From The Athens News