At some point in the next couple of months, residents of Velina Drive are going to be getting some new neighbors.
At a meeting of the Guilderland Town Board on Tuesday, Jan. 16, the board heard a presentation by the Center for Disability Services for a proposed group home at 25 Velina Drive.
Supervisor Kenneth Runion said the board had no objections to the home and the center made the proposal to inform the board and the community of its intentions.
The center currently operates 11 homes in Guilderland, and Runion commended it for its openness and willingness to work with neighbors on any issues that may arise.
Alan Krafchin, the center’s president and chief executive officer, explained the center’s plan for the group home.
What we’re proposing specifically right now is a community residence for five young men between the age of 29 to 39, said Krafchin.
The men, who are moderately disabled, will be under 24-hour supervision when they are home, and all five of them will be going to work or participating in a daytime activity every Monday through Friday. Along with the overnight supervision, said Krafchin, the house will be equipped with an on-call system so `there’s always someone able to respond to the house.`
The parking lot at the group home will be able to hold nine vehicles and, Krafchin said, typically there will be three to five staff members at the home and a small minivan to transport the residents, leaving adequate room to accommodate all of the home’s parking needs.
Krafchin said there are renovations planned for the interior of the home to correct some safety concerns.
`Nothing that’s being proposed would change the footprint of the house,` he said.
Donna Lamkin, the center’s programs director, said there would be minor changes made to the exterior of the garage to match the rest of the home, as well as modifications to turn part of the garage into a bedroom.
Only one resident in attendance had any questions for the center.
`As neighbors, should we expect to interact with these individuals?` asked Bill Stoecklin, of 21 Velina Drive.
`I hope so,` said Lamkin, adding that the men are interesting, engaging individuals.
Lamkin also responded to Stoecklin’s question on how long the men will be there, explaining that ideally it’s a long-term care home, but that can change based on the needs of the men.
The center hopes to close the sale of the home by mid to late February, but Lamkin said it is based on a number of con-tingencies, including approval from state agencies.
`That can take a very long time,` said Lamkin. `We anticipate several months.`
Lamkin and Krafchin expressed their interest in working with any questions or concerns residents may have, and encouraged the community to contact them.
`Whatever we can do to help people become comfortable, we’re more than happy to do,` said Lamkin.
In other business, the board adopted a resolution authorizing Runion to sign a contract with the state Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation office for a grant of $100,000 for the rehabilitation of a pool house and deck at Tawasentha Park.
`As we had discussed at the budget hearing, the pool house and swimming pool area is in desperate need of rehabilitation,` said Runion.
The project is estimated to cost more than the $100,000 grant being received from the state.“