by Regina Purcell
Being the inspiration for his sister’s dream, Ted Nagle is optimistic he will see it come to fruition on what would have been her 58th birthday.
An army of volunteers, county, state, educational and federal organizations, led by a feisty go-getter, the project dubbed Ellington Manor is on course to open in the Gardnerville Ranchos July 3.
The manor will provide low income housing for 54 seniors, and physically or mentally challenging adults.
Nagle was born with arthogryposis multiplex congenita, a disability that causes lack of muscle development and multiple joint contractures. He has always been in a wheelchair.
His sister Ellie O’Toole, “knew how it was by watching what I had to go through, like finding places that were not accessible,” Nagle said. “And she knew how hard it was to find someplace on a low income.”
Jack Fleming was “the only guy nuts enough to help,” the $3.2 million project. In 1994, he moved his wife of 46 years, Marcia from Southern California to develop Ellington Manor. Relentless, Fleming started building in 1954. On his own since he was 14-years-old, he has developed land in Nevada, California, and Texas. He said he was blessed with the ability to analyze and understand the “big picture.” He tried to start work programs for inmates throughout Southern California, before finding a willing partner in the Manor in Warm Springs Prison in Carson City. Inmates are building modular homes and units for the Manor as are juveniles at Carson Springs Youth Camp in Douglas County and students at Western Nevada Community College and Douglas and Carson high schools.
“It took me 43 years to break into prison,” Fleming quips.
The cooperative effort will come together soon, although the site off Kimmerling Road looks barren.
“I truly plan on having it done for Ellie,” he said.
Not only does Ellington Manor bring together an army of enthusiastic volunteers, it also uses sustainable energy to lower costs using the sun for power.
“How about if we reduce energy bills by 60 percent over the life of the building?” Fleming said. “Who can afford high energy bills? Sierra Pacific raised rates 11 percent last year, and 9 percent this year.
“As much as humanly possible, we will be off the grid.”
Ellington Manor also uses space-age technology in its insulation. Therma Sheath under the ground pads will reduce energy costs keeping the temperature at a constant 50 degrees.
“So we are not heating up the earth,” Fleming said. “We can use and need all the energy we are wasting,” in conventional buildings.
Douglas County Manager Dan Holler said Ellington Manor is a unique project.
“The concept is green –environmentally friendly,” Holler said. “And the project has a community heart to it.”
Meanwhile, construction on the apartments continues. The site is being prepared for its solar capacities. Fleming scurries around trying to raise more money for the Sierra Assisted Living Foundation, where O’Toole served as director before her death from cancer three years ago.
Along with Nagle, Fleming produced a video about the project that he presents to various community groups to show how working together is a win-win situation.
“This is one of the most challenging projects I have ever been involved with,” Fleming said. “But I do it for Ellie. She had the drive and enthusiasm to do for people.
“Its a win-win for all.”
For more information about Ellington Manor, call Sierra Assisted Living Foundation at (775) 783-1883.
n Regina Purcell can be reached at email@example.com or (775) 782-5121, ext. 211.