Upon arriving as new residents at Asbury Place in Maryville, Tennessee, Julie Tallman and her friend received an orientation at a large ranch house where all administrative offices were located. Within a year, the administrative offices moved, leaving the ranch house used only for storage.
Meanwhile, apartment, cottage and townhome residents had a fairly new building with a restaurant, a very small meeting space and a gym. However, a large room connected to the restaurant was frequently booked for meetings and not open on weekends unless a fee was paid for security assistance.
The “empty” ranch house seemed to offer a solution to residents’ need for a gathering space.
A group of residents drew up a list of repairs necessary to transition the building for a new purpose. Not knowing how much it might cost, Julie Tallman offered to contribute her IRA distribution to help the cause. By having the distribution sent directly to Asbury Foundation, she did not have to pay any taxes on the amount, giving Asbury Place the total amount of the distribution—a win-win situation for her and the community.
“I approached our new executive director, who cleared the idea with the Asbury Foundation and asked us to form a steering committee,” Julie said.
After the house was emptied and ADA improvements were made, new residents Marjorie and Rogers Penfield formed a resident team with Julie to paint the inside of the house. Marjorie designed a survey that they distributed to residents to find out what they would like in an activity center and what they might want to contribute.
Using the survey results, they chose to create a classroom space, pool room with piano, craft room, game room, computer room and library. Most furnishings, including a TV, pool table, craft room table and professional woodworking tools, were donated. The walls are now graced with photographs, hooked rugs and tapestries created by residents, and the classroom features pictures of campus pets. The kitchen is fully functional, serving well for monthly potlucks.
“As the primary resident donor, I couldn’t be happier,” Julie said. “The administration teamed with residents to create a true activity center that enhances our community.”