It's a new beginning for a center that helps victims of domestic and sexual abuse.
Dozens gathered on an empty lot at South 3rd and Chestnut streets in Reading Wednesday for the groundbreaking of the new location of Berks Women in Crisis.
For years, the center has kept its location a secret, but officials said technology and the Internet have surpassed their ability to keep the site confidential. Now, they're going for outreach.
"The community's going to know we're here, why we're here, why we're providing services," said Mary Kay Bernosky, director, Berks Women in Crisis. "So that we think, along with the security measures that we'll be utilizing at the space, that will help us become safe.
The new state-of-the-art safe house for battered women and their children will be monitored and staffed 24 hours a day.
"We will have only one entrance and exit into the building, so the public and the clients will be entering at the same place so that it will always be monitored," said Bernosky.
The building will be green, use advanced technology to conserve water, and face south to take advantage of the sunlight.
"This has been a dream we've had for a long time," said Karen Nein, Berks Women in Crisis. "And just to have it come to fruition is just very exciting.
The cost of this project is $3.5 million. Officials said they are about $800,000 short of that goal.
"People have been very supportive of us throughout this campaign," said Bernosky. "And I think they've understood more about the services that we provide and how critical it is in our community."
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