Children's advocacy relocates into heart of Bradenton

mjohnson@bradenton.comJanuary 16, 2014 

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This two-story office building at 1227 Ninth Ave. W. will be the home of Manatee Children's Services as of March. The nonprofit purchased the property for $380,000 in December.MATT M. JOHNSON / Bradenton Herald

MJOHNSON@BRADENTON.COM Buy Photo

BRADENTON -- A Manatee County nonprofit that provides emergency shelter and counseling services to abused and neglected children is moving its headquarters and programs into the heart of the county public services district.

Manatee Children's Services purchased at two-story office building at 1227 Ninth Ave. W. in Bradenton in mid December for $380,000. The nonprofit will move from its leased Orange Blossom Plaza space on Cortez Road into the new location sometime in March.

In a news release Wednesday, the nonprofit's executive director, Melinda Thompson, said the move is intended to provide a "centrally located, child-friendly" location for its advocacy center.

Manatee Children's Services bought the circa-1925 building from First Federal Bank of Florida. The building was last occupied by Mike Carter Construction. Accord

ing to county records, Mike Carter turned the property over to First Federal in a duress sale in 2011. Carter's company was going through a bankruptcy proceeding at the time.

The nonprofit took out a $285,000 mortgage with Wells Fargo to pay for the majority of the purchase, according to county records.

Some of the nonprofit's programs will be in rented office space adjacent to the newly purchased space. Thompson said the organization will start a capital campaign intended to fund the location of all its functions into a "state of the art" facility.

The new office space is three blocks south of the Manatee County Courthouse.

Manatee Children's Services has other property holdings in Manatee County with a total value of more than $507,000, according to county records. Those properties -- some of which the organization has owned since shortly after its formation in 1977 -- are all classified for use as orphanages or other institutional purposes.

The nonprofit operates emergency shelters, trauma-focused clinical services, abuse prevention services, a child advocacy center, and a street outreach program, according to its website.

The organization is funded with county, state, and federal funds, and through donations. Manatee County taxpayers have contributed more than $576,000 to Manatee Children's Services programs during the current fiscal year. The funds come from property tax revenues. The county's total budget for children's services is approximately $6.7 million.

Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter @MattAtBradenton.

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