Recovery home could come to Jasper

Allen Laman/The Herald
The Heidorn house, which is owned by the city and located on Knust Street near the 15th Street entrance to the Jasper Riverwalk, could be donated to Lifespring Health Systems to be used as a recovery home.


JASPER — A women’s recovery home could come to Jasper’s east side.

Clayton Boyles, executive director of the Dubois county Community Foundation, approached the city’s utility service board Monday evening and requested that the Heidorn home property owned by the city be donated to Lifespring Health Systems for that purpose.

After renovations, the regional mental health and primary care service provider would own and operate the facility.

“Our vision is for Dubois County to become a community with resources to holistically rehabilitate people and provide treatment and support to those in need of behavioral health services,” Boyles said. “We want this property to be a part of this vision.”

The utility service board sent a recommendation to the Jasper Common Council on Monday suggesting that the building be donated to Lifespring. If the space ultimately does change hands, the new home could begin operating in 2021.

Boyles explained that the community foundation has spent the past two years “really trying to better understand our community’s needs and more effectively address these often complex challenges.” Conversations and analysis showed that Dubois County is under-resourced in the area of substance abuse treatment — leading to a “significant impact on the many lives in our community,” Boyles said.

The local community foundation has submitted a grant proposal to Lilly Endowment Inc. that is designed to “help significantly improve access to services that address mental health and substance abuse disorders in Dubois County and our surrounding region,” Boyles said. The group will know by the end of the year if it will receive that funding.

That application includes the building of two recovery homes that would each house between 10 and 15 residents — one building for men and another for women. (The request includes $250,000 in funds for each of those sites). Boyles defined a recovery home as a sober, safe and healthy living environment that promotes recovery from alcohol and other substance use.

Even if those grant dollars don’t come in, however, the foundation — and its long list of local collaborators — would still push forward with the renovation project at the Heidorn house, which is located on Knust Street near the 15th Street entrance to the Jasper Riverwalk.

“Our proposal to Lilly Endowment is not something just built by the community foundation team and board,” Boyles said in a follow-up interview. “It’s something that our key collaborators have spoken into and feel that we have built a very robust, very solid plan. And it will not be wasted if we do not get this grant.”

He continued: “We have built a pathway, and we’re going to figure out a way by bringing and raising support from local people who care to see Dubois County continue to be a great place to be. And one of those ways is to address this glaring issue that’s been kind of unaddressed for quite some time.”

The utility service board’s recommendation will come before the Jasper Common Council tonight at the group’s monthly meeting, which is set to begin at 5:30 p.m., at city hall, 610 Main St.

“We need to do something with that property,” said Jasper Mayor Dean Vonderheide, who attended Monday’s meeting. “It’s been sitting idle a long time. And it’s time to put it to use. And this is about as good a use as I can think of.”

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