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From Local Sources:

Changes are underway for the grotto in Jasper, including new ownership of the property. Cathedral Health Care, the former Providence Home in Jasper, has gifted a portion of their grounds to Friends of Grotto Inc., a nonprofit whose mission is to maintain and preserve the Mother of God grotto.

“Cathedral Health Care Center is pleased to partner with the newly formed nonprofit group, Friends of Grotto. Our generous owner, Mark Ide, has ensured the preservation of the Grotto for the community and gifted the property to ‘Friends of Grotto’,” said Beau Kellams, Administrator, Cathedral Health Care.

“The Grotto is a spiritual monument that served the community of Jasper for decades and we would like nothing more than to see that continue for decades to come. We extend a special thanks to Tim Bell, Irene Kapp, Andrea Bradford and the countless other individuals who have devoted themselves to the preservation of this historical landmark,” Kellams said.

Friends of Grotto Inc has started maintenance repairs as well as preservation efforts of the property. These items were previously on hold due to a lack of funding.

Thanks to recent grants from Dubois County Community Foundation and Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center, the projects are now underway.

“The grant funding we received from the Community Foundation and Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center has been instrumental in making it possible to undertake such a large project in the short time frame that was upon us,” said Tim Bell.

A $10,000 grant was made by the Community Foundation to relocate flower pots, establish separate electric and water meters for the grounds and help offset expenses related to the gifting of property. In addition to these maintenance needs, the grant will help save and preserve many of the existing structures located on the north grotto (St. Joseph’s Grotto).

“The grotto has a deep history in our community and we feel it’s important to protect what those who came before us built,” said Clayton Boyles, Community Foundation Executive Director.
“The Community Foundation supports Friends of Grotto in their efforts to preserve this community asset and also believes Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center’s expansion is critical to future growth for our county,” Boyles said. “We’re proud we could be a partner to help move this project forward,” he said.

Bell said the immediate need was the removal and preservation of all structures located on St. Joseph’s grotto, the north area purchased by Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center.

Friends of Grotto recently contracted with Green Thumb Landscaping to relocate approximately 20 geode flower pots from this area to the Mother of God grotto located on Cathedral’s property.

Memorial Hospital Health Care Center made a grant of $2,500 to move two large structures on the hospital’s property that could not be moved intact.

“We spoke to two individuals, a local contractor and a professional building mover, who indicated that these structures would not survive any type of move. It became clear that we would need to remove what we could and carefully dismantle the rest of the structures,” Bell said.

The north property, located at 13th and Bartley streets, will be the future site of a medical residency program owned by Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center. Ground breaking is expected in the spring of 2017.

“We know our planned Family Medicine Residency Program that we plan to locate on this property close to the Hospital will benefit the patients and communities we serve for years to come. We are thankful that, as part of this progress, many of the grotto structures will be preserved,” said Kyle Bennett, President and CEO of Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center.

“We are very grateful to Memorial Hospital for this grant to see that the geodes within these two structures are preserved,” Bell said.

“I also want to recognize the rest of the Friend’s Board of Directors, Art Kapp, Nathan Bradford and Dee Ann Bell, that helped with this entire process
and give our gratitude to Mark Ide and Cathedral Health Care for this gift,” he said.

Once the expenses of taking ownership and preserving the property are complete, Friends of Grotto Inc will continue to maintain the grotto. Two endowments held by Dubois County Community Foundation will help with annual expenses as well as donations to an Eagle project on the property, private donors and corporate donations.

“Our mission includes both preservation and prayer. Fr. Ottavi did not build these structures solely for their beauty but as a place of prayer and personal healing,” Bell said. “I invite the public to spend some time at the grotto in prayer and reflection,” he said.

Anyone interested in contributing to the grotto can contact Tim Bell at 812-630-4038.

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