MUST Ministries will take another giant step toward the construction of a new campus next week when it holds a long-awaited groundbreaking ceremony.

Gov. Brian Kemp is expected as the guest speaker at the 3 p.m. Sept. 23 event at the construction site, 1260 Cobb Parkway North in Marietta.

Plans call for an emergency shelter, housing offices, health clinic, a chapel, workforce development and training areas — all in one location.

“MUST needs more beds, more dining hall seats, more program space, and training areas and the new 41,000 square-foot emergency shelter will meet these needs,” the organization said in a news release issued Thursday.

It hasn’t been an easy road to fruition for MUST officials. Citizen concern over the location of the homeless shelter was expressed at several public meetings over a period of two years. Based in part on those objections, the Marietta’s Board of Zoning Appeals last year denied MUST’s request for a variance. Later, city council voted unanimously to override the denial, clearing the way for MUST to proceed with its plans.

The new MUST campus will be built on just over 6 acres on the corner of Cobb Parkway and Bells Ferry Road. Plans call for a two-story facility with 136 beds and flex space that can accommodate an additional 36 beds. MUST will also renovate an existing building on the site.

The ministry will move from its existing 72-bed shelter location, less than half a mile away on Elizabeth Church Road. That property will be sold.

Due to the coronavirus, event attendance will be limited although the ceremony will be livestreamed on the MUST Ministries Facebook page.

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