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Fostoria elderly care facility plans expansion to satisfy need

FOSTORIA - Good Shepherd Home, which has stayed faithful to its 98-year-old roots, will go into its second century here in a big way.

The nonprofit facility, which cares for elderly residents with a wide spectrum of conditions, is moving ahead with an ambitious 10-year expansion plan.

Good Shepherd has presented to the city plans to build 20 cottages with 40 independent living units for couples, a separate Alzheimer's Center, an independent lodge for up to 20 residents, and a community center.

If all city approvals are awarded, the units will be built as they are needed and funded, said Chris Widman, executive director.

“We are expanding because there is a need in the community that is not being met. No other place is like ours, as far as independent living for the elderly goes,” Mr. Widman said.

The Alzheimer's center will be next to the Alzheimer's wing in the present building with the two sharing a common courtyard, he said.

“There is no other Alzheimer's assisted living center in Fostoria, and there is a need to offer another level of services to Alzheimer's patients, who need help and protection,” Mr. Widman said.

It is planned that residents in the lodge will live in suites with all services in the building. The community center will have meeting rooms and a wellness center for all residents to use.

“We are delighted with the project,” said Jamie Hatfield, Fostoria zoning inspector. “It signifies growth in the city and meets a real need to serve people.”

Good Shepherd Home has 100 nursing beds, 39 rest-home type efficiency rooms, and its Alzheimer's wing. The home has a staff of 150.

The original building was built in 1902 and was known for many years as the Old Folks and Children's Home, sponsored by the Church of the Brethren of Ohio.

The present building went up a half-century later. As Good Shepherd Home, it is an independent nonprofit operation. “But we still operate under Church of the Brethren guidelines,” Mr. Widman said.

That church body helps support the home financially, he said.

The Fostoria Planning Commission has recommended a zoning change to multiple residency for the project.

Plans will go before city council in January, then to the board of zoning appeals.

It still will have to undergo a site plan review, said Ms. Hatfield.

“There are hoops to jump through. The only problems with the site will be strong water runoff issues, which have been discussed and should be solved,” she said.

“There have been surrounding neighbors with some questions and concerns but no opposition to the project because it will be a closed community with plenty of room.”

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