A home owned by the City of Jasper is set to become the county’s first recovery home.
The home located on Knust Street adjacent to the former Jasper Power Plant was purchased from the Heidorns in 2012 for $315,000. At the time, the home and property were considered an important part of the potential biomass project at the power plant.
On Monday, Clayton Boyles, executive director of the Dubois County Community Foundation, requested the Jasper Utility Service Board donate it to Lifespring Health Systems to be renovated and turned into a women’s recovery home.
“A recovery home in simple terms is a sober, safe and healthy living environment that promotes recovery from alcohol and other substance use,” he explained to the council. “We’re proposing to build two recovery homes in our county one would be for males, and the other for females, and they would house anywhere from 10 to 15 residents per facility.”
The Heidorn property will become the women’s facility.
Mayor Dean Vonderheide is a member of the ecumenical council in Dubois County. He explained this group had been in discussions on how to help with the county’s substance abuse and mental health problems. When they found out about the larger community collaboration group’s plans, they decided to join their efforts.
“As we were going through our properties and evaluating what properties within the City of Jasper that we want to dispose of, redeploy, repurpose, the Heidorn house kept coming up, and as well, the old power plant site,” he explained.
The city could combine the Heidorn property with the powerplant site and then sell it as an industrial site, the mayor explained. But the Heidorn home was such an attractive property to create the new recovery home.
“It is already zoned residential. It is private back there, and it’s not in someone’s backyard. It is close to the industries, the Riverwalk,” Vonderheide said. “There are a lot of things that are very positive about that location.”
According to Boyles, the group chose to pursue the women’s facility first because women are more easily victimized in these types of situations.
The Utility Service Board agreed and forwarded that recommendation to the Jasper Common Council, who approved donating the property to Lifespring at their meeting on Wednesday.
Through the work of a volunteer community collaboration group, the new recovery home is part of several projects identified to better handle mental health and substance abuse issues in Dubois County.
The Dubois County Community Foundation in its role as a convener has helped bring this group together. As part of their efforts, they are seeking a Lilly Endowment grant to help facilitate several projects to significantly improve access to services that address mental health and substance abuse disorders in Dubois County and the surrounding region.
Boyles told the council the grant would potentially cover $250,000 for the renovation of the home into a recovery home for 10 to 15 women. If the grant is not approved, he told the council there were enough community partners at the table to ensure the money was available to complete the project.
“We want Dubois County to be as healthy and prosperous as it can be,” Boyles said. “If we can change the pathway for some of the individuals within this system or intervene before they ever enter a system, the quality of life for that life is going to be much better and there will be a ripple effect in our community.”
With the approval, Boyles stated they expect to have the new home in operation some time in 2021.