Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

September 25, 2013

Mansion will house health care office

GOSHEN — Goshen Board of Zoning Appeals members Tuesday approved a request by Maple City Health Care to convert the historic Abshire Mansion property on Goshen’s north side into a satellite medical care facility.

Representatives of Maple City Health Care, which is located in the former north side fire station on Middlebury Street, went before the BZA Tuesday to request a use variance to permit a medical office in a residentially zoned area, and a developmental variance to allow access through a residentially zoned area for a new access on North Third Street, with the potential for a Wilden Avenue access at a later date. The request also sought the addition of 17 on-site and 13 off-site parking spaces where 25 on-site parking spaces are required.

Located at 803 N. Main St., the original home at the Abshire site was built in 1852 by Milton Mercer. After a series of owners, the original home was torn down and a new one was built on the original foundation in 1903 by Putnam R. Judkins. The Abshire name became associated with the home after John O. Abshire purchased it in the 1920s.

The Fourth Freedom Forum, a not-for-profit agency that advocates for non-violent solutions to international issues,  purchased the home in 1984 for use as its headquarters.

Representatives with the non-profit have recently expressed interest in selling the property and relocating to a smaller location. With the requested variances for the property now approved, the Fourth Freedom Forum offices will now reportedly relocate to a downtown Goshen location.

As for Dr. James Gingerich, administrator of Maple City Health Care, the Abshire location couldn’t be more perfect for what he hopes to accomplish with the new facility.

“This kind of fell into our laps as a wonderful site right in the neighborhood,” Gingerich said of the property. “It’s not just the exterior that we want to preserve. It’s a gorgeous facility, and part of what we want is this sense that this treasure in the midst of our North Goshen neighborhood becomes something that is really available for the neighborhood.”

According to the petition, Maple City Health Care will be partnering with IU Health Goshen to facilitate the project. IU Health Goshen will be the purchaser of the property, while Maple City Health Care would lease the building.

“The area that we really want to use for clinical care and anything we change is the addition that was put on 20 or 30 years ago by the Fourth Freedom Forum folks, which is now to the west of the mansion over the swimming pool,” Gingerich said of the section of the property known as the apartment. “It’s beautiful, but it’s not historic, and that’s the area we’d like to expand and make available for clinical care.”

As for the mansion itself, Gingerich said the only area that will likely see any change at all would be the kitchen, which is currently not in working order. Everything else, he said, will retain its historic look and feel.

“That’s the one part that’s been remodeled already, and it’s the only part we want to change,” Gingerich said of the kitchen area. “We’re not going to change the interior at all. We’re thinking of using the mansion for group settings, for offices, and for counseling and so on. So we’re not talking about doing any interior renovations or messing with the mansion.”

In addition to the great atmosphere for clinical work, Gingerich said he would also love for the chance to open up the historic home to the public, who in the past have most likely only ever seen it from the outside looking in.

“We would love the neighbors to have a chance to see this glorious mansion, not just from the outside, but from the inside,” Gingerich said. “We want this to be a space that really expands a kind of welcome and invitation to the neighborhood. So our goal is to expand capacity in clinical care, to do it in a spacious and gracious way in this facility, to maintain its historic integrity, and to really make it another gathering place for the neighborhood.”

There were a few from the public who spoke out against the planned clinic Tuesday, listing among their grievances concerns that locating a business in a residential area could negatively affect the neighborhood. There were also some concerns raised about the potential loss of one of the north side’s few remaining historic structures if the petition were to be granted.

A majority of the public response to the petition voiced Tuesday was overwhelmingly positive.

In an effort to alleviate some of the concerns regarding the potential loss of the historic nature of the site, several commitments were added to the petition.

Included among the commitments added was language stating that the architectural integrity of the mansion must be maintained with any new construction that takes place in the development of the new clinic. Also added was a condition that the property’s green space be maintained as a welcoming and open resource for the surrounding community.

BZA member Ardean Friesen also attempted to alleviate the concerns that the property will lose its historic look and feel if a business takes it over by pointing to the good job the Fourth Freedom Forum has done in maintaining the property for decades.

“Out of all the possibilities of this facility or this property being sold, this is probably most likely the best alternative in my opinion,” Friesen said.

The board agreed, and the petition was approved unanimously.


Text Only
Local News
  • GN140730 Spore mug Charges filed against parents in Syracuse boy's death SYRACUSE — According to a story first reported by The Times-Union in Warsaw, the parents of a 12-year-old Syracuse boy are facing criminal charges as the result of their son's death in June. The Times-Union reported late Friday night that Candy Sue

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140823 new paris railroad crossing 01 Railroad crossing upgrades coming NEW PARIS — Significant safety upgrades are on their way for the Division Street railroad crossing in New Paris. That’s the word from Will Wingfield, a media relations representative with the Indiana Department of Transportation, who recently indicat

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lifelong Learning fall courses announced GOSHEN — The Lifelong Learning Institute of Elkhart County is offering fall courses. These short courses are designed to provide stimulating and affordable classes in many fields for active seniors. There are no tests or grades, and no previous studies or degrees are required.

    August 22, 2014

  • Fresh shrimp business approved GOSHEN — Finding fresh shrimp in Elkhart County just got a little easier.

    August 21, 2014

  • NWS GN140822 john hertzel (2) John Hertzler relishes role with Goshen Historical Society GOSHEN — Visitors to the Goshen Historical Society’s museum might not know John Hertzler is there, tucked back in an office beyond the rows of historic documents, photographs and artifacts.

    August 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • South Ninth Street area under boil water order South Ninth Street, between East Jackson and Franklin streets in Goshen, is under a boil water order from noon until further notice.

    August 21, 2014

  • GN140821 Pike Street Project 2 INDOT meeting held to discuss Pike Street project GOSHEN — Major changes may be on the way for a small section of Pike Street in downtown Goshen.

    August 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0821 goshen college challenge Locals embrace ice bucket challenge It’s a challenge that has united participants with the shared sensation of an icy burst of water, sopping wet clothing and video evidence — all in the name of philanthropy.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140821 nisly complaint Complaint filed against state rep candidate Accusations of wrongdoing, in the form of a complaint to the Indiana Election Commission, have been levied against District 22 representative Republican nominee Curt Nisly.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140820 dometic groundbreaking Dometic breaks ground on significant expansion in Goshen GOSHEN — As Dometic officials gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony for the $7 million expansion of their Goshen distribution center Wednesday, the work was already underway in the background. “It’s happening right now,” said Dave Schutz, vice presi

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo


Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
     View Results
AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Chase Rice Defends Bro-Country 'Jersey Shore Massacre' Pokes Fun at MTV Series Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn