Federal building

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Rev. Larry Rice's lengthy legal battle to have the former federal building on Broadway in Cape Girardeau turned into a homeless shelter ended last week.

Rice, the director of the New Life Evangelistic Center, announced in a news conference that he would not appeal the Dec. 1 ruling by a federal judge denying New Life's claim to the building.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled against New Life's challenge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' 2009 decision to not give the building to the organization.

While the building will not be turned into a homeless shelter, New Life is not without options. The organization operates a homeless center and thrift store on Broadway, providing temporary housing for displaced individuals.

The ruling also paves the way for the Cape Girardeau County Commission to determine whether purchasing the building is a worthwhile investment.

The judge's ruling is a good one. Rice's case for a free building was without merit. And while this issue has been a lengthy one, we're pleased to see Rice will proceed with no further appeal. No doubt the funds that would have been required to move the case forward could be better put to use to help the homeless.

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