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Options for Independence moves to new space a block east of the old

May 2nd, 2013 Posted in Opinion

Story and photos by Dawn Otterby

LOGAN — Cheryl Atwood glanced around the cluttered parking lot, her eyes landing on the white brick building that housed Options for Independence for nearly 25 years. The building now sat empty and completely stripped of everything from ceiling tiles to doors. Anything that could be sold or reused had been pulled from it. The remainder of the building’s contents were on display in the parking lot sale. The rest of building’s cargo had been moved to 106 E. 1120 North, the organization’s new home.

Options for Independence director Cheryl Atwood supervises the move to their new location behind TJ Maxx. Photo by Dawn Otterby.

Options for Independence director Cheryl Atwood supervises the move to their new location behind TJ Maxx. Photo by Dawn Otterby.

Options for Independence, a non-profit group that works to increase independence and quality of life for people with a wide range of disabilities, is one of several Bridgerland Square tenants forced to relocate due to recent sale of the land to Al’s Sporting Goods. The sale of the 10-acre parcel located at 1000 N. Main St. was announced at the beginning of the year.

Atwood, executive director of Options, received notification Feb. 19 that the organization would need to vacate the building by April 30.

“It was really hard to find a space that met our needs and that we could afford,” Atwood said. After a lot of searching, the staff found a large building for sale behind TJ Maxx. Atwood was skeptical about being able to afford the building due to their limited cash flow and budget. Cache Valley Bank, however, surprised Atwood and agreed to loan Options 80 percent of the appraised value of the building while the sellers agreed to carry a second mortgage. Options officially purchased the new building April 15.

“The hardest part now is just moving,” Atwood said.

Originally established in 1982, the organization provides disabled Cache Valley residents with variety of programs targeted to specific individuals. “A lot of times people with disabilities have always had people telling them what they can and can’t do,” Atwood said. “We like to have our clients set their own goals.”

The recreational activities program is the most popular program they provide, Atwood said.

“It gives me an out, and friendship,” said Don Toone, an elderly Options client. “It helped me to want to stay in Logan.”

Regular client Boyd Leishman says Options for Independence gives him a reason to stay. Photo by Dawn Otterby.

Regular client Boyd Leishman says Options for Independence makes his live worth living. Photo by Dawn Otterby.

The recreational activities program provides interested clients with transportation and a fun event every week.

“We’ve gone to fairs, rodeos, ridden the TRAX to Salt Lake,” said Mandie Kaneko, recreation coordinator for Options. “We try to get our clients to experience recreational activities like everybody else gets to.”

“It’s a good getaway,” said Boyd Leishman, another regular client. “It really makes life worth living.”

In addition to the recreational activities program, Options also offers classes that teach independent living skills, support groups and housing assistance.

Although Atwood said it has been a stressful year, she is relieved thatOptions has found a permanent home. “It needs to be remodeled but at least it’s ours.” Atwood said.


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