Clearfield Commissioners Hear Update on Village of Hope

(Provided photo)

CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield County Commissioners saw the renderings for and heard an update on the Village of Hope during Tuesday’s workshop meeting.

The village will be located on a 23-acre site at the former Girard-Goshen Elementary School in Lecontes Mills. There will be a total of about 60 small homes in four “pocket neighborhoods.”

Options will include single- and double-occupancy and a small number of single-family homes. Eligibility will primarily be given to county residents, but out-of-county residents will also be eligible.

Not a licensed healthcare facility, everyone within the village will be taught methods for communicating and collaborating with others around them.

It will be an “inclusive community” for the elderly – particularly those with dementia and other cognitive impairments – so they can live independently, maintain quality of life and age with dignity and joy.

The Village of Hope is designed for all ages, however, and will work to connect, rather than isolate people, and bring together people of different abilities – cognitive, physical and creative.

Kathleen Gillespie, chief executive officer of the county’s Area Agency on Aging, said the village is the “first of its kind” because it will be a multi-ability, multi-generational inclusive community.

She said it’s modeled after world-renowned Dr. William H. Thomas’ Minka “smart homes” that are equipped with telehealth capabilities to link residents with healthcare and physicians remotely.

According to her, the community will feature a pavilion with an enclosed greenhouse for residents to grow their own fruits and vegetables. Part of the village will be home to a produce market.

Gillespie said there will be an outdoor gathering place, and the community will also be “walkable” with vehicles limited to when residents move in. Otherwise, parking will be at the perimeter.

She said some concerns surrounded the former school’s roof, but it will undergo major repairs at the cost of $226,200. The commercial kitchen will be retained and other spaces will be for:

  • an adult daycare program and a senior community center.
  • a grocery or general store to be operated by a private entity to provide a rental income stream and possible job training for people with developmental disabilities.
  • a memory café/restaurant.
  • a clinic/medical office, dental office, podiatrist, pharmacy and or a beauty salon.
  • an all-purpose room for theater, art, exercise, congregate meals, etc.
  • art studio and music rehearsal spaces.
  • a family room to accommodate overnight, out-of-town visitors.

Lisa Kovalick, the county’s community development specialist, said Gillespie is a “true visionary” for the CCAAA and that this community project wouldn’t be coming to life without her.

Commissioner Mark B. McCracken agreed, saying: “There’s so much positive energy … It’s something different and exciting. It’s going to be something really unique for Clearfield County.”

(Provided photo)

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