Jim Bohanon came around the other day looking for money.
I didn't have any for him, but I do have this column I can give him, courtesy of the News-Democrat.
Bohanon is a board member at St. Paul's Home & Retirement Apartments, 1021 W. E St. in Belleville. After more than 85 years, the home is looking to build new and building committee members are out and about trying to raise money.
They need $27 million. That may take a lot of asking.
"The fun part of the project is designing what you want and building a vision," Bohanon said. "Asking is the hard part."
But the home has always benefited from the kindness of the community. It began through the efforts of St. Paul United Church of Christ in Belleville which still helps support it. But the home is independent.
"It's not just UCC people," Bohanon said. "There are people of all faiths in the home and apartments. There is no religious requirement."
The home and apartments offer shelter care (assisted living,) respite care, personalized intermediate nursing care, rehabilitation services and recreational programs.
After an engineering study, the committee decided the older parts of the building couldn't be renovated. The newer apartment building is fine and will remain.
The new building will go up to the east and south of the current apartment building. Bohanon said the plans call for a facility based on the new theory of small pods built around a central dining area.
"Each bed will have its own window and it all will be family friendly," Bohanon said.
A market feasibility study helped the committee decide that the community wants the home to stay in business, he said.
Right now committee members are going to individuals and companies they have targeted for help. Soon they will kick off their public donation phase.
"We need to have $2 million by April to dig the hole," Bohanon said. "We've already collected more than $100,000 from board members."
He knows times are tough, but Bohanon has the heart of a never-give-up salesman.
"It's not so bad when you are asking for a good cause, a nonprofit group," Bohanon said. "You can't get discouraged. Every no takes you closer to a yes."
For more information you can call Michelle Fredeking, director of development, at 233-2095.
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