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home : news : news Tuesday, January 16, 2018

7/15/2017 Email this articlePrint this article 
Peer house pursuit now rests with organizer
With zoning approved, planning can progress; meetings set Aug. 8-9

By Tom Pantera

Action last week by DeWitt City Council has paved the way for the opening of a peer respite house, but a Genesis Health System official said the matter now rests with the house's organizers.

The City Council gave final approval to rezoning of Genesis' DeWitt property from residential to commercial. The action was largely technical. Most of the hospital campus is on land that should have been rezoned from residential to commercial when the hospital was built, but because of an oversight the rezoning was never approved.

But the zoning change, which covers 5.5 acres on 11th Street, also includes three houses on nearby property owned by Genesis.

One of those houses might be used as a peer respite home planned by Todd Noack of Life Connections Peer Recovery Services of DeWitt. It would provide a place for people with, for example, depression and anxiety who feel a flare-up of symptoms that may be uncomfortable, but not severe enough to warrant hospitalization. Those people would stay in the house temporarily while they get a handle on the flare-up.

Ken Croken, vice president of communications for Genesis Health System, said that while the rezoning affects plans for the respite house, Genesis is not involved in that project other than as a potential landlord.

"Quite frankly, we needed to correct some of the zoning on the existing property," Croken said. "The progress on the respite house has not altered considerably.

"Genesis is not driving this train. This is a Life Connections project that we are inclined to support."

Noack said the next step in the process would be a visit from officials from Keya House, a respite house in Nebraska.

That meeting, a two-day session, is planned for Aug. 8 and 9. On the first day, Keya House officials will consult with Noack and other organizers of the respite house here. Noack also will invite chiefs of police and sheriffs from the area, Genesis officials, representatives of the Robert Young Center, and other possible partners in the DeWitt project to discuss respite house policies and procedures.

The next day will be open to the public and include informational sessions.

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