Looking to serve more area residents who deal with mental illness, members of Caring Place recently voted to move the organization's location from its current space at 414 N. Main to 206 W. Sixth St.

Caring Place Director Barbara Gibson said a two-year lease for the building, located between Koehn Painting and The Salvation Army, was signed on Monday.

"The (old) space is fine, we just really want there to be more people," Gibson said. "...We had been looking for some time."

Caring Place is a consumer-run organization for peers with current or former mental illness to socialize and learn together. Its members pay dues of $1 per month.

"You really do need support in the same way that people who have some chronic diseases get involved in support groups," Gibson said. "...There's such relief that comes from being able to talk to somebody who actually, personally, knows what you're feeling because they have something like that."

Currently, Caring Place is frequented by between 15 and 20 people each day it is open — a number Gibson said has been kept relatively low because of the tight quarters.

"There are more people who would benefit from it," Gibson said.

"I wish we could stay where we are, I really do," said Jason Hedstrom, a member of Caring Place. "...The board, they think that if we have a bigger place, we'll have more room to grow and more opportunities for people who, maybe, haven't frequented Caring Place in the past."

While a moving date is not yet set — with some renovations still pending — Gibson said the new facility will have a dedicated classroom space, common area, kitchen and a large shop for storage.

"The back two-thirds is shop. ...There are some people who really want to do craft things back there," Gibson said.

Members will have more parking access at the new location. The building also features a garage door in the back, which will allow the organization's van to be parked under cover.

"The fact that we can park our van there is a plus," Hedstrom said.

Gibson said plans are in the works to hold a "farewell party" at the location that has served Caring Place for over a decade. In the meantime, she is preparing to box up and move what can be easily transported to the new space.

"We can move lots of little things ... but we'll need a mover for the refrigerators, stove and the sofas," Gibson said.

"It's going to take us a couple of months to move everything," Hedstrom said.

The move will be aided by a donation of $980.34 raised by Zion Lutheran Church at its ninth annual Soup Supper in January.

For more information about Caring Place, call 316-284-2935.