Board considers Gathering’s pitch to build care facility in village

Negotiations discussed for possible construction of multiuse project on Port Rd.
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press Staff

A new facility called The Gathering, which would provide care for children and adults with developmental and physical disabilities, has been proposed for the Village of Grafton.

“It started with an idea to provide respite care for disabled children and it morphed into something much larger,” said The Gathering’s Executive Director Sue Reel. “We want to make it a destination for reliable care so caregivers can get a little break.”

On Monday, the Village Board went into closed session to discuss negotiations for the potential facility but no action was taken.

The proposed site for the facility is on approximately 30 acres at 754 N. Port Washington Rd., between Falls and Lakefield roads in the Town of Grafton. Reel said she is in negotiations for purchasing the property, and the village could annex the land.

Reel started working on the project five years ago and has been turned down by five other municipalities. 

“There have been many roadblocks, and hopefully Grafton can help us,” Reel said. 

The facility would include a day-care center, nursery, cafeteria, an organic garden, recreation center, building for the elderly, and baseball and softball fields.

Some of the services to be offered include nature healing, nutrition and diet development, hands-on farming activities, recreation, physical and occupational therapies, psychological development and aqua therapy.

“My vision is to have everything in one spot and be able to offer care for all ages,” Reel said.

Reel said her 23-year-old daughter Breanna has 32 disabilities — ranging from cerebral palsy to autism —  and has had 67 surgeries. In the past, Reel has had difficulty finding care facilities for her.

“Since she’s been out of high school, she hasn’t been able to receive any services,” Reel said. “Typically, they pick the higher-functioning disabled because that is less of a burden on the staff. It’s been very frustrating.”

Reel said she has been involved with many disability-advocacy programs and wants to change the paradigm for treating the disabled.

She said there isn’t a definite timeline for the multi-million-dollar project, for which she is currently securing funds.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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