On July 22nd, the Ramsey County Board passed a resolution to have a consultant evaluate the costs of alternative plans for site redevelopment for the 64 developmentally disabled residents of the Lake Owasso Residence. This action rescinds the previous Board’s recommendation to close the Lake Owasso Residence.

Lake Owasso Residence has been an issue for years. Since the early 90s the trend has been for counties to move developmentally disabled residents out of Intermediate Care Institutions like Lake Owasso and to place them in private, non profit, small neighborhood, group homes.

So why not close it and follow the trend of the past 15 years? The Lake Owasso Parent Group came forward with a convincing argument that Lake Owasso Residence is not only a viable option in developmentally disabled care but possibly an essential one that, once lost, would be irreplaceable. President of the parent group, Mary Joppru said, "families of 53 of the 64 residents prefer building on the present site...."

Commissioner Janice Rettman, with her neighbor, made a surprise visit of Lake Owasso Residence: "...Nobody knew I was coming...including the director. I’m someone who needed to not see it during a picnic time, or a scrubbed and tub time...where everyone dolls up....I found] the staff totally committed to the residents...the clientele has a beautiful spot, and I think it's great that they have lake access."

"I ran into someone that lives within two houses of the facility, and he said, ‘don’t you dare touch it. I’ve signed a petition saying it’s good, and we are their community.’

"...I was told that the reason one of the buildings is not painted is because we (The Board) haven’t said go on and do it... Well, the Ramsey County Nursing Home, a few years ago, was a dive...and we are now giving them awards…. I would submit that there are opportunities to take advantage of this campus setting... and we should look at that opportunity to create a good thing....because we are going to continue to have this need for an Intermediate Care facility. There is always a waiting list to get into Lake Owasso....I’m prepared to start asking the questions on the dollars and cents and go ahead and make some sense out of this and get going on it."

On October 22nd the painting of the building was started. Ramsey County Administration is still in the process of preparing a Request for Proposal (RFP) to evaluate building on the site. Janice Rettman is still committed to continuing this vital care "choice" and to building a cost efficient county operated facility at Lake Owasso including an award winning operation..

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