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L’Arche purchases Decatur site to house intellectually disabled adults

The old Merritt house in Decatur, built in 1947, has been purchased by L’Arche Atlanta and will be renovated into a home for four intellectually disabled adults. Bill Banks file photo for the AJC
The old Merritt house in Decatur, built in 1947, has been purchased by L’Arche Atlanta and will be renovated into a home for four intellectually disabled adults. Bill Banks file photo for the AJC

L’Arche Atlanta, part of an international federation providing living spaces for intellectually disabled adults, has closed on a Decatur home at the corner of Clairemont Avenue and Scott Boulevard next to the Woodlands Garden.

Tim Moore, L’Arche Atlanta’s Executive Director & Community Leader, said preliminary work’s commenced on renovating the 3800-square foot structure, originally built in 1947. The two-story brick building gets reconfigured into a nine-bedroom (currently it’s seven) home for a state-maximum four residents plus four live-in caregivers.

Except for a couple minor revisions the brick exterior will remain unchanged since the house is in the Clairemont Avenue Historic District. The interior gets subdivided upstairs, with the kitchen getting a considerable update along with construction of a new bathroom complex.

Through a capital campaign last year L’Arche raised $1.4 million that goes towards the home’s purchase and renovation, along with buying two vehicles.

Moore believes the renovation will take six months and then another three to four months securing a license.

“I think that in a year we’ll be up and going,” he said recently. “The most difficult part of all this is selecting the residents,” he said. “Right now we have 30 applications and can take only four.”

L’Arche Atlanta, which started in 2012, has one other location, a house on Meade Road in Oakhurst.