The five residents of the Cullman County Center for the Developmentally Disabled’s original group home, Nail House, were given a tour of their recently renovated home on Thursday.
CCCDD executive director Charese Morris said Nail House was the first group home purchased by the organization in 1995. Small scale repairs and general upkeep has been performed since then, but Morris said due to Nail House being grandfathered into more recent state regulations limiting the number of developmentally disabled adults allowed to live in the same house, the organization wanted to ensure the home, which is capable of housing 10 residents, remained operational for years to come.
“The state won’t let us have large group homes anymore, we can only have three. Well, this house holds ten and since we already have [a house that can house] ten, we’re keeping ten. We wanted to make sure we updated this to keep it for a long time. We wanted to make sure that for at least 50 years after I’m done being here, these folks have a place they can come,” Morris said.
Morris said the house was “completely gutted” in order to install new plumbing, electrical, walls and flooring. One of the home’s bedrooms was removed to create a free flowing kitchen/lounge area — complete with a large, wall-mounted television — to account for the resident’s two main interests — “food and tv.”
“We really wanted that open space in the back where the kitchen could be really welcoming and they could all hang out. While somebody is cooking they can all watch TV and just all be together in that one space,” Morris said.
The home’s five longtime residents have been living at other CCCDD facilities for the past six months while these renovations were being performed. On Thursday, given their first look at their new home. Residents carefully inspected each room as they familiarized themselves with the new layout and were especially pleased to find a few of their favorite items that had already been placed into their rooms.
Willard Hudson found his trophies from both baseball and basketball Miracle League teams proudly displayed on the top of his dresser, and an art set at a drawing table in the corner of his bedroom. Lonnie Latch found the built-in shelving of his room filled with his collection of die-cast trucks and John Deere tractors and a Lego table sitting under his window.
Ultimately the renovation was given an unanimous stamp of approval from the residents. Latch reportedly told members of the CCCDD staff that he is already making plans to collect items from the Cullman County Fair this fall to fill his new room.
“I can’t wait to move in,” Latch said.
Patrick Camp can be reached at 256-734-2131 ext. 238