A Garden Court for Culver

cgc-article-in-culver-citizen-3-26-09I was asked to write an article for the Culver Citizen explaining a little about Garden Court and the positive reasons for bringing one to Culver as well as the obstacles preventing the project.  It was printed in the paper last week along with a sidebar I wrote giving a little description of the umbrella group that is Garden Court.  I have copied  the article and sidebar below:

Garden Court, Inc. would like to place one of their facilities in Culver. Reverend Ronald Liechty, President of Garden Court, Inc. came before the Culver Town Council several years ago to request their assistance in finding a location and partnering in obtaining a grant to fund this project. At that time, the Council gave their blessing to the pursuit of this project. Meetings were held with the Plan Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals to confirm their support of a project. Everything was in place except a parcel of land to place the facility on. Garden Court worked with the Culver Town Manager to identify potential parcels and those property owners were contacted. Unfortunately, none of those property owners were inclined to sell at that time.

That’s where the project has stalled for the last five years or more. This year Garden Court has decided to attempt to tackle this need in Culver again. Discussions have been held with the Town Council and they have reaffirmed their support. All of the community leaders that have been contacted agree that there is a need. It once again comes down to the issue of land.

 A Garden Court in Culver would require a parcel of land approximately 1.5 to 2 acres in size, depending on shape and topography. While not required to be within the Town Limits, it is required to have access to municipal water and sewer. It also must have its own access to a dedicated street. Seven properties have been identified in Culver as potential sites and those property owners have been contacted.

The facility is envisioned to be approximately 15 units on one floor with a Community Room, Laundry Room and Management Office. They are built on a central corridor system with controlled access. The facility would be single story with off-street parking provided. All of the units have ADA accessible entrances, corridors and rooms with the infrastructure necessary to allow fixture changes necessary to make them completely ADA accessible if the tenant has those needs.

The Town Council has directed the Town Manager, Michael Doss, to assist in finding a site for this project. Hopefully there will be some buzz around the community regarding this. If you have a potential site, please contact Mr. Doss. If you know someone who might have a potential site, talk to them about it and encourage them to entertain participating in this project.

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Side bar to the article

Garden Court is a not-for-profit group that came together in Plymouth for the expressed purpose of providing affordable housing for the elderly. They formed a team of like-minded professionals representing management, legal, architectural and grant administration to pursue their goals. Their research led them to pursue HUD 202 grants to fund these programs.

Reverend Ronald Liechty has been on the Garden Court board of directors since 1988 and has been the President of Garden Court, Inc. since 1990. He states their goal as being, “to provide quality housing for qualified seniors.” They have worked hard towards this goal in Plymouth through the construction of five separate Garden Court facilities, the latest being Fairfield Garden Court, Inc. built in the Fairfield Farms subdivision.

Their success was noticed by neighboring communities and they began to be approached to help these communities serve their needs. HUD officials also encouraged them to expand their services and help other communities in need. The Garden Court board made the decision that this fit within their mission. They started by expanding into other Marshall County communities with facilities in Argos and Bourbon. Recently their reach has expanded further to include facilities in Knox and Mentone.

Each facility is established as its own entity as a 501c(3) corporation. Community participation is required in the form of a monetary stipend to pay for start up costs with 99.5% of the funding for the actual facility coming from HUD. Each facility retains the services of a management company to serve the residents, maintain the property and handle the HUD paperwork involved with resident applications.

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