Work begins on veterans house
Stephanie Taylor Ferriell, Senior Staff Writer, [email protected]
The board of the Southern Indiana Veteran Living And Rehabilitation Facility could have looked longer and harder for a facility, but it’s almost certain they would not have found a site as perfect as the one it selected.
The property is along S.R. 66, just south of the Pilot Travel Center at Carefree. The original intent, under previous ownership, was to develop a mobile home park on the land. That never happened, but groundwork toward that goal was completed.
There is a water main and five electric meter bases in place, along with a clean-out and lift station.
“We have the infrastructure in place and could immediately put in five units,” said Dan Crecelius, director of maintenance for the SIVLARF.
The organization has plans for a tiny home community for homeless veterans who are working to get their lives back on track.
Desley Snyder, president and co-founder of the organization, said plans are to train veterans in different areas of agriculture.
“Any veteran that is interested in a paid training program in agriculture, in partnership with Hoosier Uplands and Purdue, please contact us,” she said.
On Dec. 6, State Rep. Steve Bartels, R-Eckerty, also a member of the board, met with a design architect at the site. It was determined the property can accommodate 40 tiny homes.
“It’s a miracle we were able to find property like this,” said Crecelius.
The property also contains a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home.
Crecelius and board member Jerry Spanbauer also met with Mat Tyler and Curt Tyler of CTI Home Inspection recently. The company provided a thorough and complete inspection at no charge. They found the house is structurally sound.
“It’s a little rough-looking and needs a new roof and new heating and cooling,” said Crecelius, “but it’s all cosmetic work.”
He and Spanbauer, along with other volunteers, have been working inside the home, ripping up old carpet and preparing to paint and do necessary work inside.
The board plans to have the dwelling ready to house the first veterans within a matter of months, as long as the weather cooperates.
Future plans include a laundry facility and possibly a community center with space for a Veterans Administration nurse to provide care for residents.
Crecelius said the community will be open to veterans throughout Southern Indiana. The direct interstate access is another big plus to the site, he noted.
There is awareness of the project at the state level.
“Everybody is encouraged and on board at all levels,” said Crecelius. “The more we look, the more encouraging it is.”
Snyder said SIVLARF is looking for new board members.
“We need people to sit on the board that have experience in marketing, legal issues, finance, grant writing and program development. They need to be dedicated to the mission, must provide follow through on projects,” she explained. “They have to be able to dedicate their time and attend board meetings regularly. … They must completely believe in and support our mission.”
Interested parties need to email a resumé or paragraph stating why they feel they would be a good fit and what their experience and qualifications are to [email protected]
For more information about the project or SIVLARF, visit the group’s Facebook page. Anyone who would like to donate to the project may send checks to SIVLARF, P.O. Box 52, Elizabeth, IN 47117.