Community helps shelter renovate quickly, under budget

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – It should have taken six weeks.

They crammed it into one, and now Lancaster’s Water Street Mission kitchen and dining room renovation is wrapping up.

On paper, mission president Jack Crowley said it was a month-and-a-half-long project with a price tag topping $860,000.

“When we started talking about the project and I started seeing the numbers, I got nervous because it kept getting bigger and bigger,” Crowley said.

In practice, the rebuild cost less than $300,000. And six weeks? Please.

“Gene Clark from Clark Food Service said, ‘On those TV shows, they tear down a house and build a new one in one week. Why can’t we do that here?'” Crowley said.

ABC27 wasn’t able to broadcast most of the progress Sunday; that’s part of a big reveal Monday night. Instead, we got glimpses of workers driving screws into walls, gazes of people installing paper towel holders in bathrooms, glances of metal work.

“Here we are seven days later after breaking that first wall and we’re almost finished,” Crowley said. “I mean, it’s unbelievable.”

Last weekend, Crowley said no one was confident they could do it in time; but they figured it out.

Roughly 150 people still had to eat at the 110-year-old mission three times a day. They figured it out.

Costs kept going up. The community figured it out, and the project is coming in ahead of schedule and under budget.

“It’s so many people that God draws together to do the work here to help transform lives,” Crowley said.

The massive donations of labor and materials, Crowley said, are manifestations of the work the mission does every day.

“This is such a tangible reminder that we’re not in it alone, that the entire community does care about what we do,” he said.

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