GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County Commissioners spoke with Integrated Services of Appalachian Ohio and Gallia County Children’s Services on Thursday over the potential of using four unoccupied Gallipolis Developmental Center cottages as potential apartments to be used as supportive living units.
In March, both Gallia Children’s Services and Integrated Services approached commissioners about using the former children’s home behind the Gallia-Jackson-Meigs Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services. Integrated Services wanted to create 12 units to serve as permanent housing for individuals facing tough domestic situations, income challenges or recovering from addiction.
Since that time, Integrated Services and Director Russ Moore, of Gallia Children’s Services, found that attempting to rehabilitate the former children’s home would be too costly an endeavor for the scope of the project Integrated Services wishes to accomplish.The dual agencies believe now it might be better to make use of four vacant cottages on the GDC property. Two of the cottages could fit up to 16 individuals each when in use, according to Gallia County Commissioner Harold Montgomery.
“The plan is to change the target away from the children’s home and to two of the four cottages,” said an Integrated Services representative Kevin Gillespie. “The location of the GDC is right in the middle of historic town and is within (traveling distance) of stores and restaurants and is just gorgeous.”
Costs to the once-planned children’s home rehabilitation were decidedly too high given structural components, environmental and water concerns, according to Integrated Services representatives.
Montgomery said the GDC had been maintained over the years in hopes the buildings could be reused. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine visited the GDC campus in mid-May and talked with area leaders as they described the desire to use the facilities and attract jobs to the region. Montgomery expressed a desire, at the time and at the meeting Thursday, to see the buildings filled and health care jobs attracted to the area as many workers are already trained to meet such needs.
Moore expressed a desire to potentially move some of the Gallia County Children Services office space into one of the unused facilities in combination with Integrated Services. The two organizations already share space in the former children’s home on Shawnee Lane.
According to the meeting discussion, given the cottages are already standardized to meet health care needs, they would serve as ideal home units.
Commissioner David Smith reminded those assembled that GDC properties belonged to the state and any talk of acquiring them for local purposes would have to be run through state officials. According to those assembled, state Rep. Ryan Smith had apparently discussed a desire to see the vacant GDC buildings used again. Commissioners said it may be best to discuss the idea of using the four cottages with Smith.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.