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Stepping Stones set to expand in New York Mills

Stepping Stones, a New York Mills-based chemical dependency treatment center for women, is planning an expansion.

The city recently finalized the sale of the Straightline Graphics building, and the parcel of land it sits on, to ShareHouse Inc., which owns Stepping Stones. ShareHouse purchased the property for $105,000.

Located in the former motel across from Dean's Country Market, Stepping Stones has helped women and children in the area for the last five years. It offers rooms for 14 moms and up to 27 children.

"It's a very much needed service," ShareHouse Inc. CEO Bill Lopez said in a phone interview.

Lopez said the NY Mills facility unifies women and children while offering an environment where addictions can be overcome. These kinds of programs prevent the foster care systems become overburdened and help keep families strong.

Lopez said Stepping Stones, one of six ShareHouse-owned facilities, has done really well. It was modeled after a similar center in Fargo, N.D., called Sisters Path.

"We are excited to offer an expansion opportunity and to continue to be part of the community," Lopez said.

With the expansion, ShareHouse hopes to offer more services like conference rooms, movie and activity rooms for children, dining rooms and an expanded bed count.

Currently the facility employs 12 individuals, but upon completion of the expansion, Stepping Stones will have a number of positions to fill, Lopez said.

Now that the building purchase is finalized, an architect has been hired by ShareHouse to draw up a plan to best use the land and current facility. The company is hoping to begin construction this fall, but may have to wait until spring depending on the plan and bidding process, Lopez said.

NY Mills City Clerk Darla Berry stated in an email that the selling of the Straightline Graphics building, located across from Subway, helped the city recover $77,348 of expenses it had incurred since December 2011 due to paying off a lien to the Farmers and Merchants State Bank, some property taxes, utilities, and maintenance of the building and lot.

The balance of the proceeds after all expenses were paid was $26,954. This was paid back to the New York Mills Economic Development Administration, which had secured a second position on the building.