Officials at St. Joseph Peace Mission are excited for the upcoming reveal of the Nicky Hayden Commons Area, a project that’s been in the strategic plans for years before finally coming to fruition.
The community is invited to a drive-through tour from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at 1328 W. 3rd St.
Paula Yevincy, President of the nonprofit, said it was an easy decision to name the new area after the late Nicky Hayden.
“Our new Commons Area is dedicated to Nicky Hayden as his legacy continues to live on in our community and throughout the world,” Yevincy said. “This area is not only an important extension to our Hayden Home for Girls, but to all the children living on our campus at the Yewell Home for Boys and the Emergency Shelter. This special place of healing is just one more way we can honor Nicky’s memory in a way that would have made him proud. Helping children was near and dear to his heart, as it is to ours.”
According to St. Joseph Development Director Bryson Morrow, they are working on the final touches of the long-anticipated project.
“It’s always been in our strategic plan from years prior,” he said. “We just now had the opportunity to secure the donations and support and funds to complete the area. It’ll take about eight months total to get to full completion.”
All of the concrete work is finished, a new gazebo for family visits has been constructed, and new privacy fencing also surrounds the area.
“Basically we decided our kids needed an area for recreation and leisure as well as a space to provide families to visit their children in a secure and kind of secluded area,” Morrow said. “We’ve got one admin building right now called the annex. It’s not even a building — it’s a garage that has been renovated. We hold all of our meetings in there, and any visitors who come go in there.”
Morrow added, “We’re kind of running out of space for the kids to enjoy and we obviously want them to be outside a little more, too. We’re really happy with the outcome so far. We plan on using it for recreation and also for our family visits and any therapy sessions that might be involved with that.”
From the Hayden Home back porch runs a new concrete sidewalk to the area. A large basketball court was also installed and it will serve as a multipurpose area for other activities such as volleyball or pickleball.
“Our kids don’t really have access to any recreational facilities in town so it’s a must that we create our own opportunities for them or else they won’t get to have that advantage that other people do,” Morrow said.
Morrow said they are acquiring a few final additions such a bench swingset and some remedies to help with mental health.
They’ll also have a flag with Hayden’s logo to fly alongside the American flag during various times of the year.
During the drive-through tour, St. Joseph will be giving away some gift cards to local boutiques and other stores, as well as other small items. There will also be a designated area to drop off donations.
Morrow said the event will follow all safety guidelines, and people are asked to remain in their vehicles unless they are in a designated zone to move about freely.
“Since it’s a drive-through we encourage anyone who wants to check out our campus to come and do so,” he said. “There will be one designated area on the outside of campus if visitors would like to get out of their cars and view the area up close. If they drive through they will get a good idea of the Commons Area. We would obviously love for people to come out and tour the homes but now is not the time for that. This is a community awareness event.”