Jimmy Gray Gives OK To Property Renovations
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
June 1, 2004
CARLSVILLE, WISCONSIN--Jimmy Gray will allow volunteers to come into his house to fix it up and make it safe for him to live in.
The Green Bay Press-Gazette reported Monday that Gray, 37, signed an agreement which gives permission for neighbors and businesses to, among other things, replace the septic system, install new plumbing, and put up new walls.
"I signed it because it's going to save my house," he explained.
Gray's decision means that he will be able to live in the home where he has spent much of his life rather than an institution, the paper noted.
The small wooden house was condemned last summer as a health hazard. Officials were preparing to evict Gray and tear down the structure a few weeks ago when the Door County Community Programs Department got the word out through the local media. Since then, thousands of dollars in cash, building materials, and expertise have been donated. The cost of the entire project is estimated at $67,000.
"We have about 15 people involved now, some of whom represent larger companies, contractors," said Ken Jeansonne, owner of Specialized Services LLC, which is overseeing the project. "What I'm hearing from them is, 'How can anyone have slipped through the cracks like this? We want to help him out.'"
For several weeks, Gray, who has a developmental disability, resisted the renovations. He was primarily concerned that workers would remove items he considers valuable, but that others consider trash.
His decision to allow the renovations comes after weeks of warnings from county health officials that his refusal would have severe consequences. Last month, a state representative suggested a guardian be appointed to "take some responsibility for him [Gray] and help him improve his life."