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Journey House plans to relocate ministry center

September 23, 2010

Anticipating the future renovations on Cascade Avenue, the owners of Journey House have decided to sell their current residence in order to expand upon their ministry.

Along the front of Journey House, located on the corner of Cascade Ave. and Second Street, is one of three locations projected to have a roundabout constructed according to Journey House Campus Minister Yvonne Wilken.

“The roundabout would be getting close to our property,” Wilken said. “It is not in Journey House’s best interest to stay.

UW-River Falls Campus Planner Dale Braun has assured that Journey House would not have to move.

“As part of the requirement for the proposed roundabout plan, no buildings would be affected,” he said.

There would be small changes made to a lot of land along the surrounding area of Casacde Avenue. All of these changes are necessary in order to meet certain needs for the University and River Falls community, Braun said.

The roundabout project would fulfill these needs by meeting a set of goals, beginning with addressing the road quality of Cascade Ave.

According to Braun, the aesthetic nature of the campus parkway would also benefit from the construction. Braun also emphasized the final prospect, which is the overall safety of those crossing the road.

Prepared in two phases, the first in 2012, the project would address two intersections between Spruce Sreet and Sixth Street. As for the third roundabout on Wasson Lane, the construction would begin as early as 2013 according to Braun.

The River Falls city website reveals that the project would cost between $5 million and $8.4 million.

There is a small portion of Journey House’s property that would require minimal acquisition, according to Reid Wronski, the River Falls city planner.

“It may make some sense for the city to purchase the entire property, but we have not fully explored that option just yet,” Wronski said.

The Rev. Chris Meyer at First Congregational United Church of Christ, one of the supporting churches for Journey House, said that there are many reasons for the relocation, aside from the roundabout, to expand their ministry.

Journey House doesn’t own the property one which they are located. The Wesley Board of the River Falls United Methodist Church does, and they have the ultimate decision, said Wilken.

Janet Ellinger, the pastor at the RFUMC, said it was a mutual decision between the Wesley Board and Journey House to sell the property. The Board viewed the house as an inadequate building in need of much repair.

“It was not forced on us by the city,” Ellinger said. “It was a decision that came on over a long process.”

Wilken said the overall campus seems to be growing and steering people further east.

“I feel like we are becoming more and more isolated, but we have to stay on Cascade,” Wilken said.

One of four Journey House residents, Qurina Khan, indicated that the ministry also wants to move to house more people.

“Our key component is our leadership program, which allows our students to live here,” Wilken said.

“The rent is $200 a month,” said Khan, “But you have to participate in Journey House activities. It’s like a job.”

According to Wilken, through a housing application process the program focuses on admitting students of lower financial means. Wilken looks to those individuals who can’t afford to live anywhere else and in turn, would have to drop out of school. It is a situation that she has seen before, one that could have been avoided had she had more room.

“Journey House isn’t going anywhere, we are just hoping to grow,” Wilken said.

Correction

The Journey house has not been sold, and the woman in the photo is Journey House Campus Minister Yvonne Wilken.