GC Horizons

Article by Jamie Fluery in the Pilot News

GC Horizons, Garden Court’s latest project was before the Plymouth Plan Commission last week. There were a lot of people there to speak on both sides. Jamie Fluery did a nice job on an article in the Pilot News that went through a lot of it before the meeting. The drawing from the paper shows the concept plan. Along with the new apartment complex, the City of Plymouth will sponsor some single family homes.

Continuation of Jamie Fleury article from Pilot News

There was a lot of Vitriol spent attacking Garden Court and the potential tenants for these units. Sister Connie spoke in favor of the project and was shouted down at the end. After the meeting she commented, “People look at these things with compassion or fear. Tonight there were a lot of people speaking from a place of fear.”

The proposed zoning change recommendation that was before the Plan Commission passed. That puts the issue before the Common Council this evening and there has been a lot of pressure put on the Common Council Members. I hope they are able to see that the few speaking out don’t represent the majority, but I know it’s hard when you’re being attacked for doing the right thing. Below are three positive letters that were sent to the Common Council stating the case better than I could. I thought it was important to include them here:

From Linda Yoder, Marshall County United Way:

Good afternoon, Plymouth City Council Members,

Thank you for your consideration of the Garden Court Horizons Project. Last week, United Way hosted a review of preliminary findings from the Housing Gap Analysis launched in February 2024.

For those that were unable to attend, attached is a copy of the presentation slides and, for your convenience, a summary of key findings.

Based on data included in the study, your favorable consideration of the rezoning and annexation request on Monday would:

  • Address a projected housing shortage of 1300 units
  • Focus on the largest housing need today which is rental units

(Due to multiple factors: high interest rates, high cost of construction making home ownership unattainable for many and a higher than normal % of population under 30)

In addition, a favorable vote will:

  • Bring $13 million in investment for a mix of 28 low/moderate (affordable) rental units and 8 permanent supportive housing units
  • Set the stage for a potential READI grant proposal to develop an additional 13 single family housing units for even more state investment in housing shortages

The 2019 Marshall County Stellar Designation opened this door to capture additional state funding through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority to address a critical housing shortage.

Michael Fortunato, the Housing Gap Analysis Consultant, shared this summary:
The combined effects of a) a large, young renter class emerging, b) another large generation aging in place and therefore locking in the housing supply, and c) suppressed education levels that translate to lower wages overall would create a housing crisis anywhere.

Marshall County’s greatest assets are a) a county working together to be proactive around these issues, and b) a housing supply (with some vacancy) that is still not as constrained as some other neighboring counties. 

Those that attended the IHCDA Housing Institute and serving as team members includes:
Bowen Center: Zach Cook
Bradley Company: Rod Ludwig, Alonda Jenkins

  • City of Plymouth: Sean Surrisi
  • Easterday Construction: Kevin Berger
  • Garden Court: John Myers
  • SRKM Architecture: Brent Martin, Jeff Kumfer
  • United Way of Marshall County: Linda Yoder

Additional advocates invited to the team are Jack Davis and Eric Holsopple.

We would be glad to talk with you to answer questions or provide additional information. You can contact me any time (evenings and weekends included).

Best regards,



From Brent Martin, SRKM Architecture:

Dear Council Members,

As members of the Garden Court team know, I have been reluctant to reach out to plan commissioners or city council members regarding this most recent Garden Court project.  I am self-aware enough to know invective is thrown my way as my career as an architect is designing buildings.  At the same time, my history with Garden Court goes back over 33 years.  Longer now, I think, than anyone else on the team.  I guess that makes me “the old man”.    Given that, if you’ll allow a bit of a ramble, here’s some perspective.

Mayor Glaub was instrumental in creating Garden Court in the early 1970s.   I’ve been told he did so as his elderly mother could no longer take care of her home, wanted to remain in Plymouth, and had nowhere to go.  So, the founding of Garden Court was based on providing housing for low-income seniors.

The first projects, Garden Court East & West, were funded by USDA Rural Development, back then called the Farmer’s Home Administration.   A bit of history:

During the Great Depression, rural Americans needed the power of electricity that had been established in urban areas. Unfortunately, providing electricity to rural places was cost prohibitive and up to 90% of farmers were not able to access electricity because existing distributors would not build lines to their farms. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order to create the Rural Electrification Administration.

My Dad remembered when electrical power came to his Mom & Dad’s farm.  He told me the deal was the farmers had to get together and set the poles and the REMC would then string the wire and bring in the service, but I digress……..

In 1984-5 Garden Court was approved for what’s called a HUD 202 project for low-income elderly and adults with disabilities of any age.   That project is Garden Court downtown, the three-story building on Garro Street.

Then, in 1986 some crazy young architect moved to Plymouth and in 1991 was hired by Garden Court to design what is now known as Neidlinger Garden Court.   The Garden Court board was not happy with a three-story building for seniors (no surprise there) and so I was directed to design a single-story building.  However, the three-story design was the “HUD Model” and a real donnybrook ensued.  (Long and occasionally humorous story there, best told over a beer).  As you can see, Garden Court prevailed.

The Rev. Dr. Ronald Liechty was President of Garden Court by this time.  He, along with Dean Byers, had the vision of building a Garden Court in every community in Marshall County.  A development team of Ron, Dean, Bob Toothaker (Real Estate Management), Scott Huges (Hughes Associates Grant Administrators), and myself was formed to go after funding.

And we were highly successful without much fanfare getting projects funded in Argos, Bourbon, Lapaz, and Culver, along with Knox in Starke County and Mentone in Kosciusko County.   While all this was going on we were also successful in funding Fairfield Garden Court and Hurford House Garden Court.   You may notice Bremen is not mentioned.   That’s because Bremen has a similar 202 project developed by a different non-profit.   I would wager Marshall County may be the only county in the state with a facility in each community.   That’s something to be proud of.

There is a part of me nostalgic for those development team meetings.   The good conversations, the not-so-good coffee, and the real friendships that developed over time.  2024 isn’t 1995, that’s for sure.  Not worse, just different.  Rev. Liechty is deceased, Bob Toothaker retired, Scott Hughes pretty much out of the grant administration game, but Dean Byers, at 80 years old, is still going strong with Habitat and soon to be our next county coroner!

Since those days, Real Estate Management Corp. is now Bradly Company and has grown to a very large group based in Indianapolis with property management, real estate, and development portfolios.  Plymouth is very fortunate Rod Ludwig, a hometown person, is the managing director of multi-family housing for Bradley.   

I would be remiss if I did not note over the past 50 years federal agencies have changed the rules for both the development of, and the management of, these properties.   And, depending on the funding source, the requirements vary.    It’s the nature of bureaucracy.   “Use our money, play by our rules.”

You may ask why Garden Court hasn’t expanded low-income senior housing recently? About 15-20 years ago HUD moved the decision making from Indianapolis to Chicago.   I’m sure you can deduce where the funding goes now.   Garden Court is consistently asking “where is the need?’   And, over the last 4-5 years, they determined there is tremendous need for the housing insecure.

And Garden Court continues to thrive and serve low-income persons, winning awards for excellence and most recently voted Favorite Apartment Complex 4 years running.

Kindly forgive my rambling history, but context and history are important.

As to the current project, here are a few things I’ll mention.

I’ve heard it said Garden Court could sell off this property or develop the whole thing as multi-family.  After a 50-year legacy of doing precisely what was proposed for each project, this all volunteer, local non-profit is not going to pull a “fast one”.  To say otherwise, ignores reality.     Should the tax credit application be successful, we have an understanding with the City to donate the single-family property which becomes part of the match for the City’s proposed READI 2.0 single family housing grant.   If not successful, the option to purchase expires.

I have also heard about traffic and of course this project won’t add a whit to issues with school pick up and drop off traffic as the elementary children living there are certainly going to walk to school.   I am pleased sidewalks on Lemler to Michigan are planned in the coming year.

The Plan Commission tenders this petition to you with a favorable recommendation after a lengthy public hearing and your plan consultant recommended approval.   Those recommendations should carry great weight as these are the people you appointed to make dispassionate decisions removed from political office.  They reviewed the request, heard the comments, and then decided. (I’m sure you’ve also heard plenty of comments that aren’t fit to be in the public domain).    And your recently adopted comprehensive plan says this:          

1)COMPREHENSIVE PLAN: The City of Plymouth’s Comprehensive Plan and any other applicable, adopted planning studies or reports; The new Comprehensive Plan identifies this area to be a Traditional Neighborhood. The traditional neighborhood character area reflects Plymouth’s vision of diverse and inclusive community. This locale offers a range of housing options and living arrangements that cater to every stage of life, all while preserving the historical essence of residential neighborhoods. In this area, you’ll find a harmonious blend of smaller lot single-family detached homes, single-family attached homes like townhomes, apartments, and the versatile option for accessory dwelling units (ADUs). The architectural theme aligns with that of the Transitional Mixed-Use area, where homes stand closer to the street, with cozy front yards.

(from the plan consultant’s report)

In other words, the project is a precise fit to your new comprehensive plan, full stop.   Note your plan doesn’t speak to who may reside in any of the mentioned uses.   To do so, would be inappropriate at the very least.

I’m also sure you’ve seen Mr. Fortunato’s report on housing and the identified need, crisis really, at the bottom of the demographic ladder.   I’m not going to repeat that study, simply encourage you to read it.

And of course, the Economy Inn and Red Rock have become conflated with the Garden Court project.  Other than the possibility that a small number of the residents may qualify to move to this new project after going through the coordinated entry process, there’s no connection.  None.  Having said that, I’d encourage you to accompany Sister Connie or Jack Davis when they deliver food.   I suspect you will be surprised to find the vast majority of the residents living there are good people. 

Does Plymouth have too much low-income housing?   A per capita comparison with Columbia City and Logansport says no.  Will property values decrease?  Studies in both Kokomo and Plymouth refute that assertion.   Garden Court can only meet the need.  To deny the need is just not supported by the facts.

Much of the vitriol is driven by fear, although generally people are loath to admit it.   All I can say to that is I’ve completed about 25 low-income housing projects over the years, mostly in residential and mixed-use neighborhoods.  Some controversial, some not so much.   One of the comments I’ve heard from opponents after the project is up and running a few years is often:  “I didn’t know it would be like that.”  

I understand how difficult a vote can be when you’re being hammered by constituents.   Keep in mind the loudest voices are not necessarily reflective of what is best for your community, nor the majority of your community for that matter.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but the facts matter.   I have always believed an elected official should carefully consider what is in the best interests of their community as a whole and then vote that belief.

Thanks so much for your time reading my somewhat rambling thoughts.  I urge you to weigh carefully the recommendation before you and evaluate the veracity of comments both for and against this project.  I will make myself available this weekend if you wish to contact me.



From Gary Neidig, ITAMCO

Dear Plymouth City Council Members,

Our community is experiencing a dilemma.  Everyone is concerned.  Everyone has an opinion.  Everyone wants something done.  Everyone knows the need is real.

However, we all have a “not in my back yard” concern when it comes to something that is different than what we are accustomed to in our neighborhood.

I have a personal story that speaks to this subject.

A few years ago, I was made aware of a variance being requested for a home in our neighborhood across the street from my home.  It was being requested by Pathfinders to open a Group Home. 

Some of my neighbors, and myself were not pleased with that possibility, and began to investigate what could be done.  After some investigation, we then discovered that there was already a Pathfinder Group home in our neighborhood, and that I didn’t even know about it.  The variance was granted, and there have been no problems with the tenants.  In fact, the house has been well maintained, and there have been no negative incidences that would have warranted the concerns we had.

I realize that this is a different demographic, organization, and project.  However, Garden Court, and Bradley Company have done an outstanding job to vet residents, and to maintain a proper and safe environment.

The affordable housing crisis is a problem for all of us.  Allowing the two former motels on the North side to be the nexus for aggregating citizens that are working but lack the resources to get a down payment, or security deposit is not the answer.  This is now giving the appearance of a magnet, and is not indicative of what Plymouth has to offer.

Distributed projects like the Garden Court Horizons project are not the final answer,  but it is a step in the right direction.  If we can work together to create a strategy of helping people that are doing their best to succeed, then our whole community will benefit.

Duane, Don, Shiloh, Randy, Linda, Kayla, Dave, I’ve known you all for many years.  You have caring hearts, and you want what is best for our community.  We’ve witnessed together our community grow, and have seen improvements in so many areas.  Let’s start the process of reducing the blight on the North side by allowing Garden Court to build this project.

Please vote yes for this zoning request.

Gary L. Neidig



6100 Michigan Road

Plymouth, IN  46563.

O:  574.936.2112  D:  574.935.6903


“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”

Psalm 19:14 KJV

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