Cultivating community

New Apple Patch homes
considered models for the nation

Project is inclusive community
is for adults with disabilities

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

BROWNSBORO, Ky. (February 2008) – Apple Patch has been a staple in Oldham County for almost 20 years. The facility keeps expanding, and its latest unveiling will be an inclusive community known as Celebration Park.

Apple Patch Home

Photo provided

The newest Apple Patch
community development will include
76 homes and 42 condominiums
with green space and walking trails.

The residents of Apple Patch are adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A new community has been developed on 49 adjoining acres that will contain 76 single-family homes and 42 condominiums. Apple Patch owns 10 single-family homes and six condominiums in an area known as Celebration Park.
Donna Bayers, events and volunteer coordinator, said the residents will now “have a place to live independently.” She said she hopes Apple Patch residents will build relationships with their neighbors who will become a “natural support for them.”
Bayers said Celebration Park is the first of its kind in the nation; a model concept for future similar communities. “Apple Patch is such a happy place,” said Bayers, who has a brother with special needs.
An open house and ribbon-cutting event was held Jan. 26 at Apple Patch. The 49 acres were originally donated to Apple Patch, which sold 20 acres to Jordan River Development. Apple Patch bought back the lots on which the 10 homes and six condominiums are built, said Joe Spoelker, Director of Development. Funding to build the homes came in the form of the Kentucky Housing Corp.
There will be lots of greenspace and walking trails at Celebration Park, said Bayers. Homes are grouped in twos on a circular drive so that they are not isolated from one another.
There are three people living in each of the four out of 10 homes that are now occupied in Celebration Park. Each individual has his or her own bedroom and bathroom.
Spoelker said there are 38 residents living in the Apple Patch community; 12 live in four of the single-family homes, three in the original group home and the others in rented housing nearby.
“This is typically a segment of the population that gets hand-me-downs,” Bayers said. This is a way to give them something brand new that they can call their own. “Residents work to pay for their resources and volunteer in the community.”
Kim Buckler, director of Oldham County Tourism, recently toured the site seeking ways to bring about an awareness of Apple Patch within and outside of the county. “What a great way to acclimate residents of Apple Patch to the community and let the community see what tremendous programs are going on there-literally right in their own backyards,” said Buckler.

Ellie Ward

Photo provided

Residents of Apple
Patch, like Ellie
Ward work for their
resources and volunteer
in the community.

Celebration Park will be an “inclusive community to live in with friends and family members nearby who do not have disabilities,” said Bayers. Also close by is the chapel, which Bayers hopes will be the “center hub for the community.”
The chapel was built for the entire community to use. The 80-person capacity chapel is available for weddings and memorials, and has an accompanying covered gazebo.
Apple Patch is currently leasing 3 1/2 acres and the former spa at Foxhollow Farms. Known as APEX, the 8,000-square-foot facility contains a library and therapy center. The Oldham County Public Library is partnering with Apple Patch to provide books and programming.
Offered on site are programs teaching art, music therapy, horticulture, technology, recreation and a culinary program. In the latter course, participants prepare and serve a meal every Friday. The public is invited to these lunches to experience what Apple Patch has to offer.
APEX is available for outdoor weddings, corporate retreats and reunions. Buckler said she receives many requests for small wedding locations, business meetings and reunions. Both APEX and the chapel “are great options for those requests,” said Buckler, who has included the Apple Patch facilities on her new tourism website.
“The community has been incredibly supportive,” said Spoelker. Apple Patch has decided to hold a fundraiser, Midwest Margaritaville, on March 8. Money raised will go toward general operating expenses, he said.
“We’re bringing the fun of the Keys to Louisville,” said Bayers. The fundraiser will be held at the Mellwood Arts and Entertainment Center, located on Mellwood Drive in Louisville. Tickets are $100 per person for this casual-attire event.
Also included in the evening will be silent and live auctions and dinner. The Conch Republic will perform Jimmy Buffett-style tunes.
Patrons wanting to attend only the party part of the Island-themed fundraiser from 9 p.m. until midnight can purchase tickets for $25, said Bayers.
Apple Patch would love to have volunteers, especially for a new program, Apple Patch Pals. Best Buddies is a similar international program begun by Maria Shriver. “There is not a local chapter in Kentucky,” Bayers said, who would like to see one for Apple Patch residents.
“I really believe that if more residents and business owners could see with their own eyes what goes on at Apple Patch, they couldn’t help but be supportive,” said Buckler.

• To purchase fundraising tickets or for more information, contact Donna Bayers at (502) 657-0103 or visit: www.applepatch.org.

Back to February 2008 Articles.



Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta