Friday, February 18th, 2011
By William Kincaid
Group home planned
Celina facility for developmentally disabled would replace Mud Pike home
  CELINA - Mercer Residential Services intends to build a new eight-bedroom group home for clients with developmental disabilities near the former Mersman Company, according to executive director Garry Mosier.
City planning commission members on Thursday night unanimously approved Mercer Residential Services' site plan and conditional use request to build an estimated $700,000 facility at 436 W. Wayne St., an undeveloped parcel that was once a parking area of the former Mersman company.
The property is zoned R-3 high density residential, and a group home meets the conditional use options, city engineering assistant Karen Seibert told the newspaper.
"I think it's an ideal location," Mosier said, pointing out its proximity to services and the bike path, which is supposed to be extended in the future.
The new home would replace the current facility on Mud Pike Road, which Mosier said is more than 30 years old, has five bedrooms and eight residents and can only accommodate male clients.
"The home at Mud Pike has seen its better days," Mosier told commission members, later adding that the old facility is owned by The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities on property owned by Mercer County.
Mosier said the current clients would be moved to the new, 5,939-square-feet facility once completed, which could also house females.
The facility would be staffed 24-7, he added.
"We do employ a nurse," he said when asked by planning member and city safety-service director Rick Bachelor about plans for a nurse's station.
Some of Mercer Residential Services' clients work at Cheryl Ann and the organization provides transportation, Mosier said.
Mosier said Mercer Residential Services has been around since 1977, has an active board of directors who meet 10 times a year and has two group homes and 20 apartments in Van Wert and Celina. It's largest source of funding is Medicaid, Mosier said.
The organization has 67 employees, 42 of who are full-time.
"That's quite an organization," commission member Tom Hone said.
Fellow member Ralph Stelzer asked if the organization reports to the county commissioners.
"No. We're a private, nonprofit 501c3," Mosier said.
Seibert told commission members that the engineering of the site plan has been reviewed throughout the last year.
"We've looked at this quite a bit," she said.
She also said the site plan meets all set-back requirements.
Bachelor said the facility would fit in well with the nearby Mackinaw Retirement Village, which recently celebrated its grand opening, while Stelzer said it would make good use of existing space.
"It think it's a perfect fit for that property," Celina Councilman Ed Jeffries, who attended the meeting, said.
Stelzer made a motion to approve the site plan and condition use request, which was unanimously approved by Bachelor, Sharon LaRue, Hone and Eric Baltzell.
Mosier said he would like to contract the construction work this summer.
"As soon as we can," he said about ground breaking, explaining that Mercer Residential Services is currently working on financing for the project.
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