Remodeling of a building in Ridgeland that will house a nonprofit cafe to employ and train individuals with intellectual and developmental delays is expected to get under way in September.
The city of Ridgeland architectural review committee approved the plans for the Lily Pad Café, which will be located at 111 N. Wheatley St. in the original location of M7 Coffee House.
The cafe is so named because it will provide a stepping stone to the next path for individuals with special needs, just like a lily pad is for a frog.
“The main demolition and construction work will be reconfiguring the space to make the bathrooms larger and more accessible,” said Kristin Lape of Madison, who in June was hired as the full-time director of the café after the nonprofit received a large donation.
Lape and her husband, Brent, are a co-founding family along with Deanna and Kelly Elliott of Brandon. The families were motivated by their children, Lily Lape and Hayden Elliott, who are developmentally delayed.
Construction is expected to take about six months, with the café expected to open in spring 2020, she said.
Dean and Dean/Associates Architects designed plans to refresh the exterior of the building, renovate the interior and upgrade the patio.
The kitchen will be revamped and new equipment will be installed. More than 100 people will be accommodated with seating inside and outside.
“We’re very excited about the location,” Lape said, noting the café will be in a thriving part of Olde Towne that includes to M7 Coffee House and Whirl Natural Smoothie Bar.
“It’s a great location for our café.”
Menu development is under way for the café, she said, which plans to be open at lunch and serve sandwiches, salads, soups, baked goods and a few dessert options such as a brownie or cookie with ice cream.
Details of hiring and partnering with other groups are still being worked out, Lape said.
Last fall, the Lily Pad Foundation kicked off a capital campaign with the goal of raising $500,00 to cover the purchase of the building and renovation and raised that amount, Lape said. It has raised $120,00 toward a goal of $170,000 for operational start-up costs, she said.
Before the capital campaign, the annual Run Up for Downs raised funds for the cafe.