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Fulton’s WeBUILT community ready to be built

by Rochelle Eiselt | January 6, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Rochelle Eiselt / Fulton Sun Nancy Hanson, of WeBUILT, speaks about the WeBUILT program during a Callaway Resource Network meeting Thursday at Callaway Electric Cooperative.

Fulton's WeBUILT community is ready to be built.

Nancy Hanson, who started Fulton's WeBUILT community, kicked off the new year with a presentation about the project during a Callaway Resource Network meeting Thursday.

WeBUILT is a community where individuals live in separate homes with neighbors who are sensitive to their needs and want to support them. It is a program focused on houses that meet not just the individual needs but the tastes of those with disabilities. The homes feature décor chosen by the people who live in them.

Hanson is a Fulton local who was inspired to start this community because of her daughter, Shelby. Hanson was trying to find a way for her daughter to live as independently as she is capable of. Shelby Hanson is a senior at Fulton High School.

WeBUILT stands for "We build independent lives together."

"We're getting started as soon as possible," Hanson said, about building Fulton's WeBUILT community.

As of Dec. 19, Hanson said she closed on almost eight acres of land, so now the WeBUILT community can be built. The location will be behind Tractor Supply.

Hanson looked for 18 families that could invest in $125,000.

The buy-in price of $125,000 will cover the construction of the individual housing unit as well as part of the "party barn," Hanson said. She said her family and local investors, whom she declined to identify, will cover the project's upfront costs.

Hanson currently has found eight families that are willing to commit, she said. There are 10 families left to find.

Hanson started doing research and discovered the WeBUILT community 3 to 4 years ago.

Hanson and her husband, Keith, traveled to the organization's first community in Clackamas, Oregon. After seeing the community, Hanson decided she wanted to replicate it in Fulton.

The original WeBUILT project was created by the organization's founder, Ann Wilkinson. Wilkinson began the group in Clackamas, Oregon. It helps people live at the highest level of independence. The original project has been running since 2019.

Hanson is aiming to build 11 duplexes and a "party barn" where everyone can gather for meals.

Hanson said a local WeBUILT community would help these young adults and allow them to live up to their full potential.

"It's going to be so neat, just the thought that Shelby is going to have a place to call home, that's hers. She's so excited." Hanson said, adding that Shelby is super excited to be out on her own.

For staffing, Hanson said she is planning on hiring a chef that would come in to cook meals for the families. There would also be a community manager.

Right now, Hanson said there are a lot of trees and brush in the area to clear out.

In addition to a neighborhood to live in, inclusive programs and activities are held to help community members thrive.

"I'm so glad that we live in a community where we can create a community that is safe for our kids. I think it's time and necessary," Hanson said.

Fulton City Council approved rezoning of property near Manor Drive and west of the North Hornet water tower on Oct. 25 for construction of the WeBUILT project.

Hanson is also involved with the ICAN Bike program, which is scheduled for June 19-23.

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