Child advocates eyeing new location for center

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Darryl Enriquez
Thursday, July 28, 2011
— The mission is the same. The address likely will change.

The Walworth County Children’s Advocacy Center no longer plans to move into a large second-floor area above the Elkhorn Police Department in the Walworth County Government Center.

Instead, officials are thinking of building a single-floor office across the street from the Walworth County Courthouse on Highway NN, said District Attorney Phillip Koss.

Supporters of an advocacy center have worked for 20 years to raise money to open a permanent location.

Paula Hocking, the center’s executive director, said the group didn’t want to pay the renovation costs of converting the former jail space into a location where abused children and families could go to for help.

The existing center now is two small rooms in the Walworth County Department of Health and Human Services on Highway NN.

Planners have talked with the Waukesha County Public Works Committee about acquiring land in front of the county highway department on Highway NN, Koss said. The group also has talked with Lakeland Builders Association about creating an architectural drawing of the proposed building, he said.

“One of our options is a 3,000-square-foot building that can be expanded as a phase-two project where we can add onto it for the Association for the Prevention of Family Violence that’s based in Elkhorn,” Hocking said.

“It’s been our dream that we partner with the association to help Walworth County families, and we’re open to other groups that want to join us,” she said.

Walworth County Public Works Director Shane Crawford said he was told to work with the group.

“They’re looking for a specific plot of (county) property,” Crawford said. “I think the committee is interested in working with them in some fashion. We have to work out whether it’s a lease or an outright transfer.

“I’d say we’re at the early stages,” he added. “They don’t have any square footage or dimensions or schematic of what the building will look will like.”

Advocates for the proposed new home for advocacy center want to bring all of their services to children and their families under a single roof, Hocking has said.

“It will be built as a place where kids feel safe,” she said.

The county’s quest for an advocacy center began in 1989, when county judges created the Walworth County Children’s Court Advisory Board to deal with rising caseloads of child assault and abuse.

On Saturday, Sprecher’s Restaurant and Pub, 111 Center St., Lake Geneva, will host a fundraiser with a multi-winner raffle, Pub Club memberships with a $10 donation to the center and food and beverage specials.

Last updated: 5:47 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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