Independent living project gets go-ahead from village

Residential facility that will serve adults with autism to be located on Falls Road
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press Staff

An independent living facility that will support adults with autism was given the green light by the Village of Grafton Plan Commission last week.

On May 25, the commission unanimously approved a conditional-use permit after holding a public hearing for Independence Village of Ozaukee County, which will be  built at 101 Falls Rd.

“We need to figure out how we will support these individuals once they grow up and their parents can no longer take care of them,” Independence Village owner Anthony Werth Jr. said.

Community Development Director Jessica Wolff said the facility will have 34 units and an around-the-clock support staff.

Worth said the project will cost approximately $7 million and is being paid for through donations and grants. He plans to acquire the property in July and begin construction in fall. 

“We’re using a robust funding strategy, and we need the community’s support,” Werth said. 

Werth is a licensed psychotherapist with 25 years of clinical experience who established Ravenswood Clinic, a private psychotherapy practice in Milwaukee, 24 years ago. 

Werth, who is also a retired Milwaukee police officer, said he focuses on trauma exposure resolution, stress management and substance use problems.

In addition to being a former officer, Werth worked as a paramedic and crisis response professional.

“When I retired as an officer, I wanted to help people by supporting people with intellectual disabilities or those who may have other issues,” he said.

“I think broken windows policing has caused a lot of people in those population to fall through the cracks.”

Werth said all of the facility’s units will comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. 

“Most of the units will be super efficiencies and the rest will be for married couples,” he said.

Werth, who lives in Cedarburg, said he was searching for a property for several years before he found the Falls Road location.

“I feel really lucky to have landed in Grafton, because there are other areas that don’t support this type of development,” he said.

“It’s hard to believe there is still a stigma towards people with intellectual abilities.”

For more information, visit the Independence Village of Ozaukee County Facebook page.

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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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