Peace House Celebrates Grand Opening Of New Campus
The Park City Peace House Community Campus held its official grand opening this weekend. The celebration drew a crowd of over 100 supporters and dignitaries.
The new location is a short distance away from the Park City Hospital and the People’s Health Clinic. Kendra Wyckoff, the Executive Director of Peace House, hailed the facility as a place of refuge, safety and empowerment for men, women and children who have been the victims of domestic violence.
She recalled that the story of the Peace House began when the Park City community was shaken by two homicides in the 1990’s. A Kamas resident, Nadalee Noble, was shot to death by her husband, outside what is now Fresh Market, in February of 1990. And Patti Blanchard was strangled by her husband in her Park Meadows home in September of 1995.
A group called the Domestic Peace Task Force established a shelter, with its location on Marsac Ave generally not disclosed, for nearly 25 years. Wyckoff said the Community Campus marks a new direction for them.
“Our new home is a secure but public location where victims of abuse no longer have to hide at an undisclosed location,” Wyckoff explained. “They can be surrounded by this community of support. By Peace House stepping out of the shadows and into the light, our community can honestly address the issue of domestic violence, while working to minimize the stigma, shame and uncertainty of support.”
Utah’s Lt. Governor, Spencer Cox, said the opening marks an important step to deal with what is a state-wide problem.
“Over the past couple years, I have…..I’ve hugged moms with tears streaming down their face, two moms who lost daughters as victims of domestic violence in our state,” Cox continued. “And they said to me, ‘Can’t we do more? We have to do more’ And they’re right. We have to do more. And you’re here doing more. Today is a public celebration of a critical public resource, that for far too long has been kept in the shadows.”
He said that in 2018, there were 36 fatalities state-wide from domestic violence, and 44 the year before that.
The gathering honored Jane Patten, who headed up the Peace House for 14 years—and launched the campaign to build the new facility about 7 years ago.
Patten teared up, as a plaque with her name was unveiled on the new building.
“I have this whole speech written out, of what I was going to say,” Patten said. “And I don’t think I can do it. I don’t think I can do it, only because I’m so touched by what this community has done. I’ve swear I wasn’t going to cry, that I would fight back the tears. And I’m trying. But this means so much to not just me, but you think of the thousands of people that will be helped by the services that are available now here.”
She told the audience, “You all have made this happen.”
Wyckoff said that last week, the old shelter, the “Little Red House on Marsac” saw its last night. That space had five bedrooms that could accommodate up to 15 people.
The new facility includes eight emergency shelters that can hold 24 people. Wyckoff talked about their first visitors.
“Our first resident in the emergency shelter entered into the great room with her children,” Wycoff explained. “Her oldest took in a deep breath and looked around, and she said “Wow!” And then she quickly scampered off into the Kiddy Corral Corner, where we have all kinds of fun new toys and books.”
The facility also includes 12 transitional housing units, clinical therapy, an outdoor courtyard, gathering spaces for support classes and a Peace Room where victims can reflect and clear their minds.
It also offers Child Care. Karen Marriott, the Chair of the Peace House “Thrive Campaign”, said that’s an important element.
“Childcare can be a huge barrier for a woman to get back on her feet,” Marriott continued. “I’ve worked with several women who have had small children who aren’t old enough to get to school. And the overwhelming reality paying rent, paying your car insurance, being a sole provider, trying to figure out how to pay for your two kids, it’s just an overwhelming—and to have that childcare center is amazing.”