It took several years and a lawsuit, but officials from Davis County Mental Health dedicated a home in Clearfield on Tuesday afternoon that will eventually house eight people recovering from mental illness.
The home, built with federal funds, is at 13th East and 13th South, near Humana Hospital Davis North and one of the county's mental health treatment centers.Two group homes, the Clearfield site and one in Bountiful, were proposed nearly four years ago by mental health agency officials but opposition from neighbors and Clearfield's Planning Commission and City Council blocked construction of the unit designed to serve patients in the county's north end.
The opposition eventually generated a lawsuit in 2nd District Court. Judge Douglas L Cornaby ruled against Clearfield, clearing the way for the home's construction.
The action has soured relations between Clearfield and the county, and no Clearfield City Council members or city officials attended the Tuesday afternoon dedication.
Invitations to the dedication were also distributed through the adjacent residential neighborhood and at least one resident, Julie Knighton, attended the brief ceremony.
"I opposed it at first," said Knighton, who spoke up at several public hearings on the group home. "But our opposition lessened as we found out more about the home and the people that will be in it.
"It's here now, and we'll just wait and see. We hope it works out, we'll just try to accommodate it," she said.
The two homes cost about $660,000 to build, including land acquisition, said mental health business manager Ray Johnson. Federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds were used for construction and will be paid back through fees charged to residents of the homes.
Construction of the home on Center Street in Bountiful went much more smoothly, generating little opposition from either nearby residents or the city.
Although dedicated, the homes are not quite ready for occupancy, said Terry Pendley, director of residential services for mental health. The living rooms and dining rooms lack furniture, and prospective resident managers, who will live in separate apartments at each facility, are still being interviewed, he said.
Furniture for the individual living units came from the Hotel Utah, donated by the LDS Church's Humanitarian Services Subcommittee.
Pendley said each home has eight individual living units, or studio-style apartments, and could house two persons per unit. But mental health prefers, for privacy and other reasons, to house only one person per room, he said.
The homes will provide a supervised, cooperative living experience for people who have recovered from inpatient clinical treatment but who are not yet ready to live fully on their own in the community.
The resident managers will supervise meal preparation and integration into the community, and make sure the clients keep taking any medication they need to prevent a reoccurrence of their illness.
Residents will generally be people in their mid- to late 20s, Pendley said. Their stays at the group home will average seven to 15 months before they return to the community.
Pendley's agency will try to place persons from nearby communities in each home in order to facilitate family visits.