Old home, new purpose: helping disabled - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Old home, new purpose: helping disabled


DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Tuesday, an historic home in downtown Dubuque has a brand new purpose. It's "extreme make-over: accessible edition". A $1.6 million renovation designed to help disabled Dubuque residents live independently.

Jamie Koppes never let being in a wheel cheer keep her confined. Tuesday's ribbon cutting of a newly remodeled accessible home on Bluff Street is exactly what she's hoped for.

"Everyone who has a disability wants to live independently and they want to achieve their own goals," said Koppes.

It was an idea that started the $1.6 million project back in 2005.

"February 2008 it got together and we bought the building at the time," said Wayne Breckon of Step By Step.

Step By Step and the City of Dubuque together renovated this 1890's brownstone apartment building to make it accessible from top to bottom.

Aside from being in a historic building in downtown Dubuque, they have literally thought of everything in this project. All the way down to opening the microwave.

Each and every amenity -- from keyless entry, to wheel in showers, and low light switches.

"Everything normal will be more efficient for someone disable," said Koppes.

All the way to the elevator near the kitchen and the historic windows placed low enough to enjoy a view of downtown Dubuque.

"It really signifies everything that the city is trying to accomplish," added Breckon.

Koppes is just happy to see this building finally be an accessible place for Dubuque's disabled to call home.

Aside from accessibility step by step says the home is sustainable, and affordable. They hope to have residents move in by April 1st.

Online reporter: Lauren Squires

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