Dilapidated Hospital Reopens As Housing For People With Disabilities

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AURORA, IL — A long-abandoned, dilapidated Aurora hospital has been given a second chance at life.

An eye-sore for years, the former Copley Hospital on the city’s east side is the Chicago area’s first independent apartment community for people with intellectual, cognitive and developmental disabilities, officials said.

Officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Weston Bridges, located at 323 Weston Ave., Tuesday afternoon to mark the historic achievement.

Find out what’s happening in Aurorawith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Weston Bridges, part of the campus now known as Bloomhaven, is a 53-unit, single-bedroom residential community for high-functioning, post-transition adults looking to live on their own. Resources available to residents include daily meal programs, transportation, recreation, health and wellness, activities, individualized coaching and employment placement.

The building also has a library, resource areas, fitness centers, media spaces and activity rooms.

Find out what’s happening in Aurorawith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Rehabilitating the nine-acre campus, abandoned since 1995, involved renovating structures that dated back to 1888, city officials said. Fox Valley Developers, consisting of three sets of brothers raised in Aurora, spearheaded the multi-phase project for which approximately 340,000 square feet of space were remediated and restored. A $128.5 million investment was made for the project, which included about $9 million in city incentives, according to reports from the Chicago Tribune.

The structure was “an uninhabitable eyesore and environmental threat, a magnet for gangs and ghost seekers, and a symbol of danger and despair,” said Clayton Muhammad, Aurora’s chief communications officer.

The Bloomhaven campus is home not only to Weston Bridges but the East Aurora School District 131 Central Office, Barwell Residences —a retirement and assisted living facility — and more medical and retail spaces soon to be announced, according to city officials.

“Families have struggled to find appropriate housing for their loved ones with intellectual, cognitive, and/or developmental disabilities who are high functioning,” Muhammad said in a news release. “Weston Bridges supports the attainment of independence for residents by providing a structured environment, support services, security, and numerous community amenities and social opportunities.”

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