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New senior facility approved

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FORTVILLE — A proposal to transform the former Christian Youth Home in north Fortville to an assisted living facility for seniors came one step closer to fruition Thursday with approval from the Hancock County Board of Zoning Appeals.

The board unanimously granted a request for special exception to allow the facility, which will be owned and operated by American Home Health and Hospice Care Inc., a Cumberland-based home health care and rehabilitation agency established in 2006.

The facility, located at 800 N. Center St. in Fortville, will provide residence, meals and daily assistance such as grooming, dressing and bathing for up to six senior residents, age 55 and over, said Greenfield attorney Ron Pritzke, who represented American Home Health before the board Thursday.

The facility will use two current structures located on about two-thirds of an acre at the property site.

When initially opened, the home will employ one full-time certified nursing assistant eight hours a day, seven days a week, to assist the residents, Pritzke said.

The youth home has been vacant for some time, and county records show Greenfield Banking Co. purchased the property during a sheriff’s sale in February 2013 after obtaining a $396,774 foreclosure judgment.

“It’s pretty clear we got two neglected buildings on part of a larger parcel that has been neglected,” Pritzke told the board. “What the property needs is private ownership with creative ideas.”

American Home Health owner Sajid Hameed said there is no timetable to begin work on the renovation, and rehabilitation as the project is still being evaluated for utilities and infrastructure needs by Fortville town officials.

The company has a conditional contract to purchase the property from the bank subject to obtaining all necessary approvals and is prepared to commit “a significant amount of money” to the project, Hameed said.

Though the site is zoned multi-family residential, it is surrounded primarily by single-family homes; however, of the 58 nearby property owners who were notified about the company’s request, no one spoke against the project at Thursday’s meeting.

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