Door of Hope plans $52.5 million ministry expansion, hotel, conference center in Pea Ridge
Published 12:05 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2023
Fundraiser, groundbreaking are planned
MILL SPRING–Neighbors in the vicinity of 2281 Pea Ridge Rd. in Mill Spring, about a mile from the Tryon International Equestrian Center, have been seeing and hearing activity on the 152-acre property for some weeks now.
In seven phases over the next 15 years, the rolling wooded hills, fields and creek sides will be transformed into Door of Hope Ministry’s headquarters, a variety of therapy centers, and an assortment of accommodations that will serve as sustaining funding sources for the venture.
The ministry offers Christian counseling, sponsors large conferences, and runs Hannah House, a home for female victims of trauma and abuse. The ministry is based in Columbus on NC Hwy 108 in a building they share with Gospel Express Ministry.
The project comes with an ambitious price tag of $52,551,230 million, according to the ministry’s marketing materials.
“It’s a long road ahead. We’re just getting started,” said Ron Gantt, director of communications for Door of Hope at the Ridge, who adds that the organization plans to engage local individuals and businesses, leverage state and federal grant sources, and reach out to large corporations which have philanthropic goals.
He added that over $500,000 has already been raised, and it has been put into infrastructure currently being installed on the property.
“It will take at least 15 years to do the whole thing,” said Dave Stoltzfus, director of Door of Hope’s Hannah House, a home for women who have experienced trauma to receive Biblically-based counseling during a three-week intensive live-in program.
To publicize the project, there will be a groundbreaking event on March 31 at 3:30 p.m. The public is, and is asked to arrive by 3 p.m.
According to Jennifer Maust, executive assistant to Door of Hope’s founder Jason Schlabach, there are many in the Polk County area who aren’t familiar with Hannah House or Door of Hope’s mission, despite operating here for 22 years. She says the majority of women who come to the program are from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Colorado and are referred by word of mouth by churches within the Anabaptist faith.
The program is open to women over 18. They live at Hannah House with the “Hannah House Moms” who offer a listening ear, opportunities for fun, prayer, homework, and counseling for the intensive three-week stay. If their situation requires, they also receive care from state-licensed psychiatrists or psychologists.
“We want them to feel safe, and they can deal with what they’ve come to deal with,” Maust said. Hannah House is not a place to escape to “fix” their problems, she added, but a place where “we walk with them and all that they’re going through, and we give them the tools they need to be able to go back home, and keep growing on their own.”
The women often go to Stoltzfus’s home for visits with his family.
“Most of the women that come are from unfortunate family situations and so for them to witness a family operating that loves each other – they’ve never seen that healthily done. It brings a lot of healing,” he says.
Phase 1 is the ministry’s world headquarters that will be 13,000 sq. ft and contain 13 offices. The ministry is in dire need of more space, according to Stoltzfus. The building is projected to cost $2,846,000.
Phase 2 is the construction of Hannah House, which will house 18 women in three duplex style homes. This will allow the ministry to increase the number of women they are able to rotate through the program from three to 18. This phase is projected to cost $3,312,500.
The Center for Long Term Care and Severe Abuse will be built in phase 3. It will be 8,500 sq. ft and house 10 program participants and eight staff. Severe abuse includes sex trafficking and satanic ritual abuse. Its projected cost is $2,802,500.
Covering 50 acres of trails and 10 acres of pasture will be Phase 4’s Equine Therapy Center. The 4,000 sq. ft. barn will house 10 horses for use in the equine therapy program. It is projected to cost $378,000.
Phases 5, 6 and 7 involve construction of 60 RV sites and two bath houses at $1,360,000; six 2-bedroom A-frame short term rental cabins at a cost of $2,432,500; and a 100-room three-story hotel and 130,000 sq. ft. conference center that can accommodate 2,000 people, for $38,855,000.
Approximately $500,000 towards infrastructure has already been raised and is being used currently to build roads on the property, according to Gantt. The overall project may, or may not, proceed in succession from phase 1 to 7, he adds. It will depend on fundraising and donors’ designations.
NC State Rep. Jake Johnson says that “if there were one-time funds available in the state budget, [the state] may be able to help out with upfront capital costs, but we will not know that until the final revenue projections are presented, and the budget starts to take shape in spring/summer.”
Johnson said the development will be an “absolute asset to not only the local community, but to the entire state as well. We look forward to being able to help in the process any way we can.”
Polk County Manager Marche Pittman echoed Johnson, saying that “the facility will be an asset to our community.”
Coming up is a fundraiser at the Cleghorn Gun Club, the inaugural Adair’s Sporting Clay Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 25 from 9 am to 2:30 pm. Cleghorn is located at 1887 Union Rd., Rutherfordton. More details are online at hopeattheridge.org.
Search Door of Hope Ministry on Facebook for more details on the fundraiser and groundbreaking. A brochure describing the overall project is online at Hopeattheridge.com. More information on the ministry is online at doorofhopeministry.com or by calling the main office at 828-393-0019.