The Central Wyoming Rescue Mission cleared an important hurdle Tuesday when the Casper City Council granted its request to consolidate a group of lots for a new building.

Rescue Mission Executive Director Brad Hopkins said the consolidation of properties at North Park and East A streets marked an important step for a new large shelter next to its aging building on North Park Street.

"I learned something new," Hopkins said after the council meeting.

"To build across lots you have to join them all together to be able to do that," he said.

The new $5.1 million facility will have large sleeping areas for men and women, and will be able to shelter between 150 and 180 people a night.

That's twice the number of people who can stay there now. On many nights, up to a dozen men sleep on the floor at the mission.

The women, often with children, served by the mission stay in a shelter one block away on Kimball Street.

The new building will be just south of the current building at 230 N. Park St. The current building eventually be demolished for parking and green space.

It intends to break ground on the new building next spring, and open for business in 2018, Hopkins said.

The rescue mission sees a lot of poverty, homelessness and hunger that the rest of the community often does not, Hopkins said.

"We feed a lot of folks that aren't necessarily homeless," he said. "We need to expand our kitchen and our dining hall, our shelter space."

The rescue mission also provides job training and other classes to help people integrate into the community, Hopkins said.

The rescue mission has been raising funds from a number of sources including a group of about thirty local churches, he said.

"It has such as large appeal for folks even outside that aren't necessarily attached to the faith-based community, Hopkins said. "They just have a compassionate and caring heart. So we see a lot of folks that are getting (involved) with this project."

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