Mid-Michigan apartment complex is entirely wheelchair accessible - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Mid-Michigan apartment complex is entirely wheelchair accessible

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(08/22/12) - A Mid-Michigan apartment complex may be the only one in the state that is totally wheelchair accessible. Evergreen Grove is on Lake Road near the Genesee and Lapeer county line. Several new apartments have been added.

Don McLaughlin has used a wheelchair for three years. Recently he moved into Evergreen Grove.

"I looked for nine months to try to find something like this," McLaughlin said.

An apartment complex built with wheelchair users in mind is rare.

"We know of absolutely no other place like this where people can come in and live with their entire family," said Al Sorge, Evergreen Grove contractor.

Sorge built the first unit five years ago for a friend with multiple sclerosis.

"I saw the type of housing they were putting him in. It was very inadequate, couldn't get in the showers," Sorge said.

Evergreen Grove now has 14 apartments. Each one is barrier free.

"Just because you're handicapped doesn't mean life ends and they lock you up in a box," said Brad Blackmer, a wheelchair user and resident at Evergreen Grove.

Each of the apartment doors is wide enough to allow a wheelchair to roll through. But if you need even more space, the door swings open too.

A medical team from Advisa Care is on hand for the residents.

"If someone's on a ventilator and they need specialized care, we can provide that as well," said Chris Skogen of Advisa Care.

There are paved paths surrounding the complex, which is located on the edge of a forest.

"Me and my 5-year-old son, he calls it his race track," Blackmer said.

Evergreen Grove recently teamed up with Advisa Care of Grand Rapids, which helped fund the expansion of the complex. Now the two organizations are sponsoring an open house to show the public what is available.

"Anybody with any kind of health issue that thinks they may be in a wheelchair in the future ought to consider coming out," Sorge said.

The Evergreen Grove open house is Tuesday, Aug. 28 from 2-7 p.m. at 12306 Lake Road, just west of the village of Otter Lake.

For more information on Evergreen Grove, click here.

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