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Granger doctor needs money, agreement from St. Joseph County to move on Portage Manor

Historic Portage Manor Facebook page

The Granger physician who wants to take over Portage Manor told county commissioners Tuesday that they’ll need to do two things for her plans to proceed.

Dr. Sylvana Attalah said St. Joseph County must verify with documentation that her newly formed nonprofit, “A Place for Everyone,” will take over operation of the county-owned home for the poor and disabled. She said she can’t apply for a license to operate the home without such an agreement with the county.

And Attalah said the county must give her the $2.7 million in American Rescue Plan money that commissioners have earmarked for upgrades to Portage Manor, because it would take her at least a year to generate that much money.

Commissioners didn’t specifically address either request. They said they’ll make a decision on the home’s fate at their next meeting a week from today, and the county council will vote a week after that on whether to appropriate the money.

Laura McLellan, whose brother lives in Portage Manor, asked commissioners to seriously consider Dr. Attalah’s proposal.

“I’m not sure that everyone understands just how vital a service Portage Manor serves to the community of St. Joe County and how many people might end up back on the streets, back in jail, back in homeless shelters, eventually,” McLellan said. “They might be temporarily placed but if they’re in a place that’s not suitable for them, they’re going to end up being the problem of the citizens of St. Joe County again.”

Parrott, a longtime public radio fan, comes to WVPE with about 25 years of journalism experience at newspapers in Indiana and Michigan, including 13 years at The South Bend Tribune. He and Kristi live in Granger and have two children currently attending Indiana University in Bloomington. In his free time he enjoys fixing up their home, following his favorite college and professional sports teams, and watching TV (yes that's an acceptable hobby).