WHEATON – A facility for new and expectant single mothers proposed for the former Wheaton Inn building at 301 W. Roosevelt Road in Wheaton has cleared its first hurdle.
The city's Planning and Zoning Board on Nov. 8 recommended approval of a special use permit for the facility. The 19,800-square-foot, three-story building is zoned for office research use.
The Clarendon Hills-based company Love From Above plans to offer a two-year transitional housing program for women 18 to 26 years old and serve both expectant mothers and single mothers in DuPage County. The facility would serve as many as 12 women who find themselves in "crisis pregnancies," said Yvonne Florczak-Seeman, president and founder of Love From Above.
This would be the company's first facility, which will be called The Butterfly Garden...A Place for Healing and Transformation.
Planning and Zoning Board member Ron Almiron was the sole member to vote against the plans. The Wheaton City Council is set to review the plans at its Nov. 21 meeting.
"I'd like more information about the program itself, detailed documentation on what it is looking to do and maybe possibly a copy of the contract that's in place for purchase," Almiron said. "This is a novel concept. I like what it's looking to do. I just want to make sure that there is some chance of success."
He wanted to continue the meeting, although other members rejected that idea.
Planning and Zoning Board member Mark Plunkett said he thought the proposal seemed to be a good fit for the property. He wondered what would happen to the women after they finish their two-year program.
"When they leave us, they are going to be leaving us with tools and with skills that they themselves would be able to transition into an apartment and be on their own," Florczak-Seeman said.
Culinary and fashion design programs would be offered at the facility, she said. There also would be a full-blown child care program. Those going through the program would be required to enroll in outside classes, she said.
"The location on Roosevelt Road is really an outstanding location for us because of the fact that College of DuPage is right up the street," Florczak-Seeman said. "And so the girls could continue to go to school... What we would like to do as these girls come to us is truly empower them to be young ladies who can be heads of households, who can bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan, if you will."
The facility also will offer a mothering program that would teach the women how to be good mothers, she said.