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New Heartland Homes residence has groundbreaking in Park Rapids

On hand for the official groundbreaking of Double H Thursday were soon-to-be residents, front from left, Mike Wheeler, Brian Christensen and Oscar Odland (not pictured, Travis Goose, who was at work), back, Heartland Homes board chair Patti Selbitschka, excavator Lenny Thelen, project manager Jenny Eischens, Jim Becker of Becker Construction, Heartland Homes treasurer Ed Novak, Heartland Homes executive director Curt Cannon, Mark Schik of Citizens National Bank, Double H coordinator Kelly Dudley, board m...

Ground was broken Thursday for a new Heartland Homes residence, to be designated the Double H.

Its soon-to-be residents arrived at the site on Western Avenue South to cheer the initiative.

Their current home, built in 1978, was intended for eight residents, with several small rooms, Heartland Homes executive director Curt Cannon explained. It was not designed for wheelchair use, but two of the current residents use them.

The structure does not meet current needs, nor will it meet future needs of clients as they age, he said.

The new residence will house four and will be completely handicap accessible. It will have two self-contained apartments with kitchenettes, dining areas, communal living space, and American Disabilities Act-compliant bathrooms.

The house "allows clients to live a more independent lifestyle while still maintaining supervision," Cannon explained.

Heartland Homes offices, located on Fair Avenue, will be moving from the basement of the current house to the upstairs. Some of the community programs conducted downstairs will also move upstairs to accommodate clients who are unable to navigate stairs.

Since its inception in 1978, Heartland Homes has added four houses and leases space above Bearly Used.

Residential clients are 23 in number with 33 community program clients, those living independently or with family but requiring daily services.

Fifty-eight are employed by the nonprofit with funds derived from federal, state and county agencies.

A board of directors oversees major organizational changes and decisions.