ELKHORN — A long-contested domestic violence shelter was approved today by the Elkhorn City Council, bringing an end to the debate and a new beginning for domestic violence victims seeking refuge in Walworth County.
The city council voted 4-2 to approve a permit for the shelter to open in a former medical clinic at 20 N. Church St. in downtown Elkhorn.
It will become the first such facility in Walworth County.
Suzi Schoenhoft, executive director of the New Beginnings domestic violence group, said she was thrilled that Elkhorn aldermen found a consensus allowing the group's project to go forward.
“They did the right thing for the community — not just for New Beginnings, but for the community,” Schoenhoft said.
Alderman voting to approve the permit were Tim Shiroda, Frank Boggs, Ronald Dunwiddie and Scott McClory. Alderman who voted against were Tom Myrin and Karel Young.
Neighbors had loudly opposed the shelter and hired lawyers, arguing that the countywide facility would bring domestic violence perpetrators into the downtown Elkhorn neighborhood.
The issue was reconsidered at a special council meeting today after a Walworth County circuit judge sent the shelter matter back to the city, saying that an earlier denial of New Beginnings lacked any clear legal basis.