Refuge Center ribbon cutting.jpg

Refuge Center Executive Director Amy Alexander (fourth from left) cuts the ribbon to celebrate the nonprofit's phase one completion.

The transition from its current location to its future site will be like a breath of fresh air for the Refuge Center for Counseling.

Seven acres of fresh air, in fact.

Staff and board members from the Refuge Center joined Tuesday afternoon with members of Williamson Inc., city leaders and business owners to mark the nonprofit’s completion of the first phase of its $6.7 million project to ultimately build a new facility on the property it now owns on Long Lane in Franklin.

Alexander, Doleshel Refuge Center

Amy Alexander and Bryan Doleshel from Williamson Inc. visit prior to Tuesday's ribbon cutting at the Refuge Center for Counseling's new woodland property on Long Lane.  

The Refuge Center, which was founded 15 years ago by Amy Alexander and Jennifer Gillett and is currently located on Forrest Crossing Drive, celebrated the opening of its wooded property with a ribbon cutting. It was a moment that Alexander had long awaited.

“It’s been about a six-year process to get to this point where we now own a piece of property free and clear,” Alexander, the center's executive director, told the crowd prior to cutting the ribbon.

The Refuge Center offers affordable, professional counseling services to residents and families in Williamson County, and there’s a waiting list of people who are requesting those services.

“This allows us to do about 30% more services and we will have all the outdoor elements,” Alexander added later. “Right now we’re in a commercial building with a parking lot. Now we’ll have a prayer chapel, a prayer labyrinth, a children’s playground structure, walking trails, porches with rocking chairs — just a physical embodiment of our compassionate culture model.

“We have a waiting list of about 60 people to 200 people. And with COVID, the demand is increasing like you just can’t imagine. So we’re eager to see this come to fruition.”

The center needs to raise another $2.2 million to build a 15,000-square-foot facility, parking lot and other elements such as an open air chapel, walking trails and a terrace.

Alexander said that once funding is there, completion of the facility would take about 13 months.

Click here to donate to the Refuge Center.

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