BRIGHAM CITY -- A housing development unlike any other in the state opened its doors two weeks ago, and according to Brigham City's Mayor Dennis Fife, it fills an urgent need in the community.
Discovery Place Housing is a place as many as 35 people with disabilities can call home. The apartment building has 15 one- and two-bedroom units, each built to accommodate varied levels of physical and developmental disabilities where residents can live independently.
While the units are inside a secured building, the interior is inviting, with a grand staircase just inside the foyer and a sitting area on the other side, all heated with a gas fireplace.
The apartment building also includes an area for community gathering, a free laundry facility and a small library where residents can read or use the computer.
According to Gordon Walker of the Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund, Harold Woodruff was chosen to design the housing because of his ability to build this style of housing while maintaining a home-like atmosphere.
"We have economic development, and we have housing, but we also have personal needs," Walker said.
What makes this housing project unique is the six-unit group home next door for individuals who require more assistance but do not need to be in a nursing home. Assistance will be available 24 hours a day for meal preparation, showers and medication and even financial matters.
Low-income people who have disabilities now have an affordable option for living on their own. Housing is available here for disabled people who earn less than 50 percent of the area median income. Rent is 30 percent of the household's income and includes utilities.
Five of the units are filled, and there is every expectation that the remaining units will not be vacant long.
Discovery Place Housing is a project of the Non-Profit Housing Corporation. Executive Director Kim C. Datwyler said this type of housing project typically takes three or four years to complete, but this project has been seven years in the making.
The biggest holdup was finding the right location, she said. Because the project was largely funded by HUD, a number of special requirements had to be met. One of the most challenging was finding a location where the buildings could be built in close proximity to each other, but completely independent of each other.
Datwyler said it also was really important to her to find a residential neighborhood.
"We looked on the south end of town where the Old Grist Mill is now located, and we looked at the old Indian School," she said. "None of it felt right for the people."
Discovery Place is on the north end of Brigham City, on 900 North. A road has been started between the two buildings, at about 400 West. In the future, this road will be opened up to provide access to Highway 13.
Datwyler said one of the benefits of building the group home and the apartments near one another is the ability of individuals to transition from independent living to assisted living if their condition changes, without having to move away from the people who live around them.
For more information about Discovery Housing, call Toni Quintana at 435-723-0831. Applications will be processed on a first-come-first-served basis, but applicants could be in a place of their own within two to four weeks, provided all of the requirements are met.