Task force urging St. Joseph County commissioners to partner with private entity on Portage Manor
A bipartisan task force is urging St. Joseph County commissioners not to close Portage Manor, the county-owned home for the poor and disabled, and to partner with a private entity who would run it.
The task force will present that and three other options to commissioners at their 6 p.m. meeting Tuesday. Other options are for the county to:
- continue operating Portage Manor but to invest more money to modernize it,
- hire consultants to move Portage Manor services to another facility in the county, or
- create a separate nonprofit under the Friends of Portage Manor board to operate it.
Portage Township Trustee Jason Critchlow co-chaired the task force with county council member Mark Catanzarite. Critchlow says he hopes commissioners will seriously consider maintaining county ownership and partnering with a private entity.
“With this option St. Joe County can continue its commitment to protecting the endangered adults in this community, but at the same time acknowledge there might be other resources out there that can provide that sort of service at a better and more operationally efficient level,” Critchlow says.
Critchlow says such a private entity could be Granger physician Dr. Sylvana Atallah, who has stepped forward and offered to operate it or buy it, or some other entity. Critchlow thinks commissioners could draw interest from more private entities if they would formally request proposals.