Hope for Portage Manor as Council Delays Closure Vote

The Bendr Daily

Vote delayed on Portage Manor closurePhoto byabc57 News

St. Joseph County Council has delayed the vote that would have decided the fate of Portage Manor, a facility that houses over 100 mentally and developmentally disabled adults in the county. The council chambers were packed with concerned residents who pleaded to keep the doors of the assisted living facility open.

The decision to delay the vote comes after much public outcry from the community. Rebecca Egert, whose sister has lived in the facility for 31 years, protested before the council meeting outside the County-City Building. She stated that the facility was important to her because it provided structure for her sister who has done well there. She also expressed concern that closing the facility would leave the residents without a home.

The county commissioners had voted to close the facility, citing financial reasons and the poor condition of the building. Many residents spoke up at the meeting, stating that Portage Manor is a successful program for the county's disabled adults and worth continuous investment. The council now has 60 days to come up with a plan that moves forward without closing the facility.

Some council members have suggested that ownership of Portage Manor be transferred to the private sector. Dr. Sylvana Atallah, a physician, has expressed interest in being the private buyer and turning the building into an assisted living and memory care facility. She estimates that it would take $8 million to renovate the building, and all current residents would stay there.

The decision to delay the vote has given hope to many who wish to see the facility remain open. Mark Huffman, a resident who has lived in Portage Manor for 33 years, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to continue living there. Karen Simko, another resident, stated that she did not want to leave because of the friendships and sense of community she has found at the facility.

The fate of Portage Manor remains uncertain, but the delay in the vote has given advocates for the facility more time to come up with a plan that will allow the residents to continue living there.

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