By Kathy Miller
The Bethel Hills community in Dutzow, MO, is being developed by the Advocates for Community Choice (ACC) and their many donors and volunteers. Their vision is an all-inclusive faith-based community where adults with and without developmental disabilities live, learn and worship together. Those without disabilities live alongside community members with intellectual or developmental disabilities as good neighbors with giving and caring DNA.
Bethel Hills will be the property owner and manager; residents and their families will be responsible for finding support depending on their needs and requirements. The Missouri Department of Health has toured the community, and Bethel Hills is in total compliance with all state and federal regulations and has their full approval. The state recognizes the need for this kind of housing choice. Bethel Hills is one of the first facilities in the country to be all-inclusive and be in a rural setting.
Bethel Hills is on 128 acres and was purchased in March, debt-free, thanks to donations from incredibly generous donors. Much of the work and materials put into the project thus far have also been donated. A very generous donation from the First Christian Church in Union, MO, funded foundation repairs to the chapel and First State Bank donated money to replace a deck on one of the duplexes. Bethel Hills also recently received its first offer from a donor to sponsor a building. The event center will be named the Steve Sr. and Susan Kuenzel Center. Their incredibly generous donation is another gift from God to the people Bethel Hills will serve.
Aerial view of Bethel Hills in Dutzow.
There are currently 6 - 8 retired skilled licensed tradesmen, electricians, pipefitters, plumbers, etc., along with other volunteers working to complete various projects. If you or anyone you know is willing to donate their time and share their skills, the need is there, and they will take as little or as much time you are ready to give. If you are not a skilled tradesman but are willing to paint, clean, or whatever it takes, let them know. They are looking for any volunteer labor.
Jeff Gildehaus, retired heavy equipment mechanic and full-time
grounds and vehicle mechanic volunteer.
The Bethel Hills business plan includes income from microenterprises to help support the mission. Phase 1 consists of six existing buildings with the potential to provide housing and/or other income.
The main building is an event center. It includes two offices for the (unpaid) staff, a gift shop filled with donated items for purchase, plus two event spaces to rent. The upper space seats around 80 - 100, and the lower space another 40. Both spaces are great for business or private functions and have a spectacular view.
The building also has a commercial kitchen featuring a walk-in cooler, stand-alone freezers, convection oven, commercial mixer and fryers and much more. The certified kitchen would be ideal for a commissary, caterer, or home-based food business to rent.
Upstairs in the Event Center, there are two wings with four sleeping rooms for rent. Each room has two sets of bunk beds, and there are three shared bathrooms/showers available and open space for a meeting area. There are four offices in the opposite two wings of the building suitable for small businesses plus a large conference area. Rent includes utilities and Wi-Fi.
The upper event space seats 80 - 100 guests.
The lower event space that seats up to 40.
The commercial kitchen on site.
Available lodging rooms.
The Chapel at Bethel Hills is a beautiful country chapel with a glass panel behind the altar, providing a beautiful woodland view all year long. This bright, quaint chapel will soon be ready to rent for weddings or other special occasions and will serve the Bethel community as well.
The Bethel Hills Chapel.
A full-size gymnasium on site will be available for one-time or long-term rentals once restorative work is completed. It has two separate locker rooms, a small area for concessions, and an electronic scoreboard — great for practices, games, dances, parties or other special events.
Some of the acreage has been rented to "Drew's Dream" for a pumpkin patch and vegetable stand (to be open this fall). The remaining farmland is leased to area farmers until the community is ready to expand housing or other agricultural ventures. Bethel Hills is open to ideas or proposals for microenterprises that can be created in the community and give the residents a chance to work or interact with people who support the Bethel Hills vision.
After remodeling, three exiting buildings will be available for housing. The first duplex will have three good size bedrooms and two shared baths on each side. Each side will have a shared kitchen, living space and a deck. This space should be available this fall to house people with or without disabilities.
The next duplex building will have three efficiency apartments on each side with private bathrooms. Each apartment will have its own space for a bed and a small living area. The kitchenette will include a counter, sink, space for a small refrigerator and microwave. There will also be a shared full kitchen and living space.
The third housing building has a full basement with a rec room and can be used for many other activities for the community members. The architect is still working on plans for the living units.
Phase 2 will be a pocket community with 8 - 10 newly constructed single-family homes, duplexes, or triplexes, to be located across from the gymnasium.
Bethel Hills is a dream that has taken over six years and is becoming a reality with the hard work and dedication from the ACC members and all of the generous donors and volunteers. In October 2019, to raise money to get the project started, the first 100 people to donate $1000 became the Founders of Bethel Hills. On September 12, 2021, those donors were honored at a luncheon and were the first group to officially tour the facilities. Their names will also be permanently displayed on a plaque in the event center.
"We did it!"
There will be an open house, ribbon cutting and dedication of the property on Sunday, October 24, 2021, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. The dedication service will be in the chapel at 2:00 p.m. Refreshments, live music, and tours of the buildings will be available. Everyone is welcome.
Support a good cause and enter to win Bethel Hill’s First Quilt Raffle. This beautiful king-size quilt was donated and made by Wilma Schroeder; the colors are navy, lavender and white. Click here for info and pictures.
. For more information or to donate, visit www.advocatesforcommunitychoice.com. Bethel Hills is looking for individuals to share their dream and create an inclusive rural community that gives individuals a choice of where they would like to live, and an opportunity to live life to the fullest.