Glennwood Sets Out to Meet Its Neighbors


By Justin Swanson | LB Indy


Construction underway at Laguna Beach’s Glennwood House, a home for developmentally disabled adults that expects to open mid-year.
Construction underway at Laguna Beach’s Glennwood House, a home for developmentally disabled adults that expects to open mid-year.

New electrical wiring – complicated, intricate, and functionally crucial – now runs through the walls of every room in Glennwood House, leading back to the director’s office. Though outwardly the residential facility for developmentally disabled adults is still unfinished, the connectivity being forged within indicates how far along the project has come.

Leaders of the Glennwood Foundation, as they have for the past several years, continue to strive to build public connectivity ahead of its opening, laying communal groundwork.

Now is the time to show Laguna its future neighbors, according to Executive Director Shauna Bogert, as she points out newly installed safety features, windows and plumbing upgrades to a dated facility vacant for several years.

“We’re trying to raise excitement beyond the immediate area,” she said about the foundation’s upcoming Walk and Roll-a-thon, Saturday, Feb. 2. Hopeful future residents of Glennwood and their families will congregate at Main Beach on the cobblestones, and then proceed across the boardwalk to Coast Highway, through Heisler Park to Diver’s Cove, and back again.1 glennwood IMG_2416

Bogert says the event should dispel hesitation, if there is any, Laguna residents have about the Glennwood community. At the same time, it is an opportunity to continue fundraising efforts.

The refurbishment of the old senior center at 2130 S. Coast Highway is in its final stretch and Bogert expects a grand opening in May, following the building’s completion in April.

“We had our setbacks,” Bogert said, pointing out that all of the plumbing had to be replaced when they began to install restrooms accessible to the disabled. “All the pipes looked like a shipwreck.”

“Once it opens, though,” continued resident and supporter Wendy Potter, “the fundraising doesn’t end.” Potter’s daughter, Samantha, is a prospective resident. Should Samantha become a resident, Potter would need financial help in the form of endowments or scholarships to afford Samantha’s rent.

“I am blessed as a parent in Laguna,” Potter says, “for there to be a place where my daughter can be in a safe environment and where she can participate and be a part of a community.”

glennwood IMG_2431         Another parent, Karen Meech of Mission Viejo, describes Glennwood as an answer to compelling need. Her son Trevor, 27, has been asking to move out, to gain some independence.

Glennwood “provides the peace of mind for a parent. We know Trevor will be taken care of. It gives Trevor his independence and a place for him to be social,” Meech said.

There is already a waiting list for the 50 available spots, which are to be decided in March. Staffing follows a similar timeline, as Bogert continue to collect resumes. Close to 700 people added their name to a volunteer list.

Even so, the foundation cannot open its doors until construction is finalized and approved in order to win approval for its pending license.

“Everything has to be concurrent,” she explains, regarding the construction, the residents, the staffing, and the licensing. “This whole process has been two steps forward, one step back. Everything flows around the setbacks.”

Admittedly, Glennwood’s funding needs continue to outstrip its resources, despite a high-profile $25,000 donation recently from singer Elton John. Projected operating costs are at $20,000 a month, plus construction costs. Hence events like the Walk and Roll-a-thon, drumming up awareness and support.

But Bogert is on a mission. She says that Glennwood will be one of the first large scale living facilities for the developmentally disabled in the state. It will serve as a model for future residences.

“This is the future of housing,” she gleams.


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Photos by Edgar Obrand

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