Tribe Purchases Norwood Haven Resort for Sober Living
By Joe Morey
The LCO Tribe purchased the Norwood Haven Resort at 8709 N Norwis Road on Grindstone Lake just off County E, several miles north of the LCO County Store. The resort was purchased at the end of July and the long-range goal is to convert the former resort, bar and grill into a sober living facility, but in the short-term it is being used to address the extreme housing shortage.
According to facility manager, Jeff Crone, the property is not yet a transition facility because the Tribe is putting people there who need housing but are sober and living drug free.
Crone said the plan is still being strategized and details still being worked out, but currently, all available space is already occupied.
“They are free to come and go, but we are making sure they are responsible people who are working and living clean and sober,” Crone stated. He indicated the people who have been placed there were going through the program at the Tribal Office that was paying for their hotel rooms or housing them at the casino.
Crone said after they are suggested for the facility, he vets them and approves them to move into the property. He said he lets potential residents know ahead of time that there are eight rules, which include random k9 sweeps to go around and sniff doors and vehicles.
He is also letting residents know not to bring company there that is under the influence of drugs or alcohol as well. He stated they have had to remove someone already for violating the sober rules.
Crone said the former resort needs a lot of work, including electrical and plumbing, but there are five rooms in the motel that are suitable and ready for occupancy and two of the five cabins are winterized and also ready to go. He noted three of the cabins still have a lot of work to do and one will be shut down for the winter.
He also stated the liquor license that was currently held has been surrendered so that the facility can be used for sober housing. The former bar and restaurant area will be used for a commons that will host sober activities and events, such as a Sobriety Friday.
“Almost everyone here is in recovery, so the common area may be used as an area for AODA meetings and activities and it will be a dry bar,” Crone stated. He said the kitchen area is so old that it is totally not usable, with cracked pipes and other issues.
Currently, the property upgrade is in phase one, which includes some construction upgrades, basically band aids so that people can live there, but next summer will be phase two with major construction upgrades.
“This is an old resort. We fix one thing and then there’s another,” Crone explained. “It’s like an old car. Everything is 30 years old. It has big electrical and plumbing problems. I’m doing a lot of the work myself and Chad Martin is also doing a lot of the work.”
Crone said there is a long-term vision to make the resort a transition house for people coming out of treatment or incarceration to have a safe place to go for three to six months.
“But the initial plan was to buy the property to find housing for the people who need it now,” Crone stated. “TGB likes the transition house idea, but with the housing shortage, it had to be like this for now.”