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Pacesetters History

Pacesetters Through the Years... 


A volunteer summer program began in the Collegeside Church in Cookeville. The program served 8 adults. The program which was an adult activity center was started by a group of concerned parents and citizens who were looking for a more productive and active lifestyle for adults with developmental disabilities.


The program expanded to 16 individuals and moved to the Cookeville Housing Authority Building.

A satellite center was opened in Livingston, TN located at the First Christian Church. 8 people were served.


The 2nd satellite center was opened in White County. The center located at the First Christian Church in Sparta served 7 people. This center grew quickly and in the same year moved to the old Farmer’s Coop Building.
The Cookeville Center also moved to larger facilities located on Fisk Road.

The Livingston Center moved as well in December of 1976 to the Neighborhood Facility Building.


The first large group homes were opened in Cookeville and Livingston. The Cookeville home known as the White House served 10 men and the Livingston home known as the Hargis House served 10 women.



Stone House in Sparta was opened.


The Cookeville Center moved again to the Norwalk Plant building.



Frazier House in Cookeville was opened and named after a former service recipient.


The Sparta Center moved to 220 ½ W. Bockman Way to accommodate the new fire and life safety standards required by DMH/MR.

A new satellite center was also opened in 1980 in McMinnville. The center located on Sparta Street grew quickly from serving 5 individuals to 21 individuals by the year’s end.


A need was identified for residential support for individuals with fewer needs than typical of the group home residents. As a result, the Apartment Program was started in Cookeville.



Hooper House was a new construction that opened in Cookeville. This home was also named after a former service recipient.




The Livingston Center is replaced with a newly constructed building. This was the first building wholly owned by Pacesetters, Inc.


Poteet House was opened in Livingston. This co-ed home was named after a parent and long-time financial supporter of Pacesetters.


The tremendous increase in work activities and in the number of individuals served in the centers caused the need once again for larger facilities.


White Co. Center was relocated to a building on 241 Doyle Road. This building was also purchased by Pacesetters, Inc.



The first home in McMinnville was opened and named Roberts House after a former service recipient.



Stone House closed and the ladies living there moved into the Mary Agee House named after a prominent Sparta Citizen instrumental in the advancement of Pacesetters in White County.


Pacesetters purchased and occupied a building on Hwy 70 East for the Warren County Center.


Stone House reopened as a co-ed home serving 2 members from the community and 6 residents who had left Clover Bottom State Developmental Center.


The first home funded by Medicaid Waiver was opened in Cookeville. This home called the Whitemore house served 4 individuals. This was the beginning of a shift in trends to provide smaller residential settings; away from the larger group homes.


Pacesetters expanded once again to Clay County. The work activity center began operation in the basement of the Clay Co. Public Health building.


Pacesetters expanded once again to Clay County. The work activity center began operation in the basement of the Clay Co. Public Health building.


Herren House in Cookeville was the first 4- person level 1 group home to open in Tennessee.


Construction of Johnson House in White county was completed. The individuals living in Stone House moved into this home.

Gribble house was also opened in Warren County serving 8 individuals.


Pacesetters opened an administrative office located at 421 Universal Drive in Cookeville.

Clay County Training Center also moved to a new location on Church Street in Celina.


A duplex was purchased to serve 4 individuals who need some support but not to the level of group home placement.


In 1992, at the urging of disability advocates and families, The Tennessee legislature established the Family Support Program. The program is funded by state dollars and designed to assist individuals with severe disabilities and their families to remain together in their homes.


The construction of a 3000 square foot building in Lafayette, TN became the 6th satellite for Pacesetters.


Deinstitutionalization from large ICFMR’s like Clover Bottom marked the beginning of the growth in the development of small 2-3 person settings. Macon Co. was the first satellite to serve individuals in this capacity. Through the late 1990s and 2000s many other homes were opened with funding primarily from Medicaid Waivers.


Pacesetters complete the construction of a 9000-square-foot metal building which became the new home of the White Co. Training Center.


The Art Program started with the help of a grant from the Tennessee Art Commission.


The new Administration office is constructed and opened in Algood off of Hwy 111 North.


Pacesetters, Inc. assumes the administrative oversight and support of Kids Inc. out of Crossville TN. The integrated daycare is moved to Cookeville and the name is changed to Kids Putnam.


As smaller homes were encouraged and funding shifted to Medicaid Waiver all of the Pacesetters Group homes were closed and individuals transitioned into 2 and 3-person settings.


Clay Co. Center was closed due to a significant decrease in the number of service recipients. The service recipients who were left were transferred to either Macon or Overton Counties.


Pacesetters started participating in the State Use program. This program allows the agency to bid competitively for state contracts cleaning office buildings in five counties. Service recipients are given the opportunity to work.


Kids Putnam moves to a new building. A new major fundraiser is started in form of a Golf Tournament. Group homes are sold. The (TRAPS) music program is started thanks to a grant for the Beth Sievers Memorial Fund.


Pacesetters face 6.1% budget cuts. The Collaboration art project started out of a Cookeville Arts Council grant. Karen Galbraith joins Pacesetters as its new Executive Director.


Pacesetters achieve a perfect score on the state survey. Pacesetters are one of 8 agencies to participate in the “You can do it I can do it” grant; in partnership with TTU. Pacesetters are selected to participate in the Good To Great Program with the goal to become more person-centered and responsive. Kids Putnam expands services to all counties in Upper Cumberland with the exception of Sumner Co.



Pacesetters celebrating it’s 40th Anniversary, Pacesetters scores a perfect score on the state survey for the second year in a row. Pacesetters get a 4-star rating from the state. Pacesetters open its first Medical Residential home in White County with a second under development in Putnam County.


Pacesetters purchased Practical Health Systems (PHS) and began the process of utilizing electronic records. Pacesetters is approved as a CHOICES service provider. CHOICES is TennCare's program for long-term care services. Tennessee Knights of Columbus assisted Pacesetters with purchasing six new wheelchair-accessible vans. Pacesetters partnered with TTU's Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC) to hold the 1st Annual Speak Up Rally. This awareness event was created with the purpose of increasing knowledge and decreasing negativity regarding disabilities. White County began an annual Pacesetters 5k Run/Walk. Kids Putnam became a stand-alone organization. Pacesetters' internal Personal Connections newsletter was created to recognize exceptional employees and to keep employees connected to each other.



Pacesetters received a 4-Star rating from the State of TN after obtaining high scores on the state survey. Twelve Pacesetters employees were chosen to participate in the DIDD Personal Outcomes Workshop. DIDD acknowledged Pacesetters' strengths in the areas of safety, security, and health. Through a grant from The Community Foundation, Pacesetters purchased seven Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and placed them at each day program location, as well as at our Administrative Office. As a result, Pacesetters is recognized as an EMS-identified AED location. If a health emergency occurs and a community member needs to borrow an AED, they can access and use Pacesetters' AED.



Pacesetters opened a Medical Residential home in Putnam County. Putnam Pacesetters also successfully opened its first blended home, combining both CHOICES and DIDD-funded individuals.


Pacesetters acquires its first Employment and Community First Choices (ECF) contract and began accepting referrals.


Pacesetters extended Family Support Services to Smith and DeKalb Counties, thus encompassing the entire Upper Cumberland area.


The Warren Co. Pacesetters office moves to a new location at 1410 Sparta Road in McMinnville.

The COVID Epidemic hits worldwide. Pacesetters’ Leadership Team remains strong and determined to continue to provide the best possible care even through tough times.

The old Warren County Center is sold, but the Warren Co. office remains open and services in Warren Co. continue from the new 1410 Sparta Road location. The Putnam and Overton Co. offices combine at the 421 Universal Drive location. Services in Overton Co. continue from this location.


Pacesetters celebrates 50 years of providing services!


The Warren and White Co. offices combine at the 455 S. Young Street location. Services in Warren Co. continue from this location.


Pacesetters achieves Quality Assurance Accreditation from the Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL). A new company newsletter, The Pacesetter, is started internally with plans to become available community-wide.


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