The Connection

Our PLACE Lands Property Transfer

By Jeremy Nash jeremy.nash@news-herald.net Nov 18, 2020

The vision of having an adult day center in the community came a step closer to reality Thursday when Tellico Community Foundation awarded nonprofit Our PLACE one acre in Tellico Village.

The deed transfer occurred in front of more than 70 people in person and on Zoom on the future site of the Our PLACE facility across from Food Lion off Highway 444. Those present included Loudon County Mayor Rollen “Buddy” Bradshaw, Loudon Mayor Jeff Harris and Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens.

The celebration comes after TCF, an affiliated fund of the East Tennessee Foundation, tasked Our PLACE representatives with collecting $200,000 before the transfer could occur.

As of Thursday, $350,000 had been collected, Jim Dezzutti, Our PLACE vice chairman, said.

“Today’s an enormous day because of the transfer of the property to us, which is monumental step, which allows us now to move forward with the construction of the building,” Dezzutti said. “We’re actually doing the engineering work right now, the blueprints are done and we hope to break ground sometime between February and March of next year.”

Our PLACE founder Sue Newman said the transfer came at a perfect time as she plans to move to Arizona to be closer to family after her husband Joel, who suffered from dementia, died in July. The Newmans used Concord Adult Day Enrichment Center in Farragut, which is the closest similar facility.

“I have a vision for Our PLACE that I have had from the day that I got to see how wonderful the program was at CADES,” Newman said. “I tried to say to everyone that I work with here, ‘This is the kind of program that people with Alzheimer’s and dementia can totally enjoy.’ It’s got socialization, has pet therapy, it has music therapy, it has structure. It gives them things that they can do with their lives in their days that are always different. That was the beauty of the CADES program, every day was different. It was colorful, it was exciting. If you went Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday you would be doing something different every day of the week. That’s what I’m hoping to see.”

Newman said CADES is supporting Our PLACE.

“They will help in training our staff,” she said. “I’m leaving feeling confident that our program is going to follow in their commission.”

She hopes to be back for a grand opening and thanked the community for getting Our PLACE to this point.

“We have a long way to go,” Newman said. “That’s the point here, and we need everyone’s continued support and working together we can make it happen.”

Joe Beyel, TCF chairman, said the community responded “overwhelmingly” to fundraising needs.

“It’s a huge day for Our PLACE,” Beyel said. “One, because they have the resources to get started and to break ground, and they have a piece of property to call home. It’s huge for us because, as I’ll say, we’re fulfilling a commitment to support seniors in need and this is going to be a tremendous asset to Loudon and Monroe counties, especially where it’s located and what it intends to provide.”

Our PLACE’s portion is part of 4.7 acres gifted to TCF in December. If the property sells, Beyel said most of the money will go into an endowment for TCF that will allow more grants in the future.

“I think a great sign of a thriving community is a community that comes together and decides that they are going to take care of their most vulnerable members first, and that is exactly what all of you have done,” Mike McClamroch, ETF president and CEO, said. “To me, this is a celebration of philanthropy on a wider scale. It’s a celebration of a place, a permanent place for Our PLACE, but it’s also a celebration for you, all of you, as a community. It’s a celebration of generosity.”

For more information about Our PLACE, visit www.ourplacetn.org.

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