MARINETTE — The reopening of the former Crossroads Group Home for juveniles in the Town of Peshtigo hopefully will take place Dec. 1 with the new name of Share Academy under the management of Advocates for Healthy Transitional Living, Health and Human Services (HHS) Director Robin Elsner told the HHS Board on Wednesday afternoon.

“We’re still projecting an opening date of Dec. 1,” Elsner said. “Advocates has submitted the application for the license. Now they are waiting for the state’s feedback. 

“I think if everything is in place, it should go positively with a week or two turnaround.”

The county purchased the facility on Schacht Road in June for $220,000 from the Group Home Association, which notified it earlier that it no longer wanted to operate the eight-bed facility under a contract with the county as of June 15 because of liability concerns and difficulty staffing it. The county has been waiting for Advocates of Healthy Transitional Living to obtain a group home license from the state so it can operate the facility.

Elsner said representatives of Advocates for Healthy Transitional Living and two of his management staff and himself met with officials of the Peshtigo School District “to talk about issues that occurred previously with Crossroads and develop an understanding of procedures and an MOU (memorandum of understanding.”

“I think it was a very productive meeting, it was very collaborative,” he said. “I think Peshtigo (School District) is re-energized by the commitment by the department and Advocates to move the new Share Academy program forward.

The HHS Board voted Wednesday to recommend the county approve a revised agreement that calls for Advocates to be paid $44,883 for operating the facility for the last 31 days of this year, based on full capacity.

The board discussed a proposed lease agreement with Advocates for Health Living that the Infrastructure Committee voted Wednesday morning to forward to the full county board for a vote next Tuesday.

“I’ve been working with Corporation Counsel (Gale Mattison) to develop a lease agreement for Share Academy,” Elsner said. “We’re going to require a $10,000 security deposit from Advocates.”

Mattison told the Infrastructure Committee earlier in the day that she was waiting to see if Advocates for Healthy Transitional Living had any concerns about the proposed lease agreement, saying it’s close to being ready to be voted on by the county board, but might require some minor changes.

HHS Board member and County Supervisor Gale Wanek asked Elsner where the juveniles that in the past would have been placed at Crossroads are currently?

“We have a number of kids that are placed in a variety of settings at a higher cost that will probably come back and be placed at Share Academy,” Elsner said. 

“The money is one thing, the other part of it is they are away from their families and community,” Wanek said.

Facilities Director Marty Keyport briefed the Infrastructure Committee  on Wednesday on the progress the county maintenance staff has made getting the facility ready to be used again.

“My department is very close to handing it (the facility) to Robin Elsner,” he said. “And then they’re (HHS) going to go in and get the facility outfitted and finished and ready to go.

“We’re in the final stage of a flooring replacement and have a little bit of painting and touch-up left to do. And then to just make make sure we cover any safety-type items or that kind of thing that’s going to come down the road when the new tenants take over. We’ve been doing a lot of work on the yard. The yard was kind of overgrown and there were a lot of weird holes.”

Keyport said “we’re just putting the final touches on now. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

“I’ll have a couple of my staff out there on Friday of this week finishing up a few things and I’ll be out there on and off for the rest of the week just finishing some items,” he said. “I’d pretty proud of the work we’ve done out there.”