Demolition and renovations are underway in the space that will soon open to the community as the Marshall County Resiliency Center (MCRC), managed by the Merryman House Domestic Crisis Center (MHDCC).

Jayna Burkey, coordinator of the MCRC, began purchasing furniture and equipment and choosing flooring and paint for the center, which will locate at 1012 Main Street in Benton, in the space where Kennedy's Fan Shop used to neighbor Puckett's Fine Jewelry near the court square.

The goal, she explained, is to offer some areas which are defined for specific uses and other spaces which are malleable to a multitude of needs. The defined areas include: a painting area, therapy space for counseling (indoor and outdoor), kid/teen zone with games and books and coffee bar. The more malleable areas include a section with couches and chairs for support groups or just a hangout spot, a yoga/exercise space and the decorated outdoor space.

Burkey said every detail of the center, from the colors to the arrangement of furniture to the scents will be intentional. What she and the other staff members hope to create is a safe space in which community members will feel comfortable, whether they're there for a specific purpose or just stopping in to hang out and enjoy a cup of coffee.

"Other resiliency centers have opened with a definition of what they wanted to do and then the community showed the center what it needed; we're anticipating the community will show us what they need and reshape the center until it matches those needs," she said. "The key is connecting people. We want to support them and get them connected."

"We have the upcoming trial so that's on people's minds and as that unfolds, we want to respond as needed to the trial and offer support for the community," she added.

The MCRC, although it's located in Marshall County, will be open to anyone from the eight counties served by the MHDCC, not just Marshall County residents, Burkey said. She said several community members are also wondering why the MHDCC, a domestic violence crisis center, will operate and oversee the resiliency center.

"The word 'resilient' means to overcome and bounce back; at the MHDCC, we treat trauma, and mass violence is linked with domestic violence," she explained. "A federal grant is funding the center and we were the organization chosen to open it because of the link between mass violence and domestic violence. We want to embrace the community and give them back the resiliency they need."

The center will be staffed with a team of psychologists and all services will be free of charge including: support and assistance through the upcoming trial in June; advocacy including providing resources and connections to community partners; community events; community education on trauma and violence; therapy with licensed mental health professionals trained in trauma, coping and resiliency; therapeutic groups; peer support groups.

Burkey said the MCRC is planning a grand opening and the information will be released at a later date; she said she will be working closely with the media to make sure the community is informed. She said they're also working on a website but in the meantime, anyone with questions may contact her by emailing jayna@merrymanhouse.org or calling 270-349-6128.