L’Arche Atlanta to purchase Woodlands Garden house in Decatur

L’Arche Atlanta, part of an international federation that provides living spaces for intellectually disabled adults, is purchasing a house in Decatur’s Woodlands Garden, with an anticipated closing of late summer or early fall.

The two-story brick structure will serve as home to a state-maximum four residents plus several live-in staffers. Before that, however, the 3800-square foot home, originally built in 1947, needs a “total systems overhaul,” according to Tim Moore, L’Arche Atlanta’s executive director.

That renovation won’t begin, however, until the eight-acre Woodlands completes its own expansion and renovation sometime next fall.

In December 2015, the city of Decatur sold the approximately one-acre lot at Scott Boulevard and Clairemont Road to the Woodlands. According to Kate McAlpin, Woodlands’ executive director, the corner site is ideal for the parking lot and new driveway the Gardens is now building with both an entrance and exit.

“We’ve always been interested in that property because it expanded the garden,” McAlpin said. “We just never had a clear picture of [what to do with] the house. It’s in the Clairemont historic district so we couldn’t tear it down.”

L’Arche Atlanta, which started in 2012, was seeking a location close to its other house, on Meade Road in Oakhurst. Moore said that in a “perfect world” the new house could open in late summer 2020.

“The [Woodlands Garden staff] thinks it’s the best of both worlds,” Moore said. “The Woodlands promotes beauty in many ways, and we promote the beauty of humanity. One of our primary missions is changing attitudes about what’s possible for people with intellectual disabilities.”