Streator Unlimited Foundation gives lasting gift with residential renovations

Restorations completely overhauled the agency’s facilities

The renovated living room at Knox Estates has a new television, recliners, television, flooring and fresh coat of paint as the Streator Unlimited Foundation spent roughly $634,000 to restore each of the agency's residential facilities.

The Streator Unlimited Foundation knew the agency’s residential homes needed to be upgraded.

Streator Unlimited, which serves individuals with disabilities by teaching them skills to live as independently as possible, has 32 residents living in five different facilities.

Each Streator Unlimited resident was built their own work space in the renovations gifted by the Streator Unlimited Foundation.

In an effort to spend funds that were raised by sponsoring garden walks, chicken dinners, the initial Food for Thought fundraiser, business and individual donations and investment earnings, the foundation spent about $634,000 between 2020 and 2022 – the entirety of its remaining funds – to enrich the lives of Streator Unlimited consumers, with the majority of those funds going to the residential renovations.

To see the impact (the renovations) made is uplifting.

—  Jan Fitzsimmons, president of the Streator Unlimited Foundation

Built in 1981, Knox Estates and Fitzsimmons House, near Engle Lane theater, are the oldest homes. As the need for residential homes grew, the Ralph Plumb Home was built on South Sterling Street in 1990, and the Kent Street Home was constructed in 2011.

In the spring of 2020, the renovations began with Fitzsimmons Home and continued successively with each home. Renovations included new flooring, fresh paint, cabinets, appliances, furniture, furnishings and other items. Eplin Construction, Don’s Furniture and Shaw Appliance handled the restorations.

Residents were able to decorate their bedrooms in any color of paint and with the furnishings they wished. Each consumer also received a new recliner to watch television in the living room.

An additional staff vehicle was bought to help consumers travel to doctor and other appointments.

Lisa Renner, a residential director at Streator Unlimited, said the consumers were excited to participate by picking out furnishings and paint colors, and noted the face-lift has given everyone from the residents to the staff a boost.

The Streator Unlimited Foundation was formed in March 1996. It was established to help support Streator Unlimited’s special education programs and services, provide additional outings in the community and fulfill other needs that directly aid consumers. The foundation has taken consumers to theater outings, to ice skate, to ballgames and several other events.

The Streator Unlimited Foundation Board members are Jan Fitzsimmons, president; Janet Spies, treasurer; Dorothy Black, vice president; Jamie Middleton, secretary; and Marisa Dominic.

“To see the impact [the renovations] made is uplifting,” Fitzsimmons said.