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Kelberman Center addresses concerns centered around former Sunset School plans

NewsChannel 2’s Gary Liberatore spoke to Kelberman Center Executive Director Robert Myers Thursday afternoon.

Posted: Jun 7, 2019 12:26 PM

UTICA, N.Y. -- The Kelberman Center in Utica has some grand plans for the former Sunset School in Utica, and Thursday the center wanted to talk about those plans, after some who live near the old school voiced their concerns at Wednesday night's Utica Common Council meeting.

NewsChannel 2’s Gary Liberatore spoke to Kelberman Center Executive Director Robert Myers Thursday afternoon.

The Kelberman Center is a not-for-profit that provides support to people of all ages with autism.

Myers says this new complex is designed to be an inclusive living community for individuals with autism, that will provide access to any services they might need.

Myers says there were public notices and plenty of publicity on the plan before it was approved last year, and he again wants to ease residents’ concerns, including offering more information on those with autism that will be living in the new complex called Kelberman at Sunset.

"Many of them are in high school right now, so these are young adults that will transition into a place of their own, some of them are known to us 20 to 25-year-olds that we support now but are getting ready to live in an apartment with support for prepping the mall right now,” Myers said. "We’re going to be there full-time, we are opening up additional offices in the building, we are hiring a full-time community development specialist to plan activities for residence with in the building in the library for neighborhood, we won’t have barbecues we want to host community potluck because part of the work is to create this idea of intentional community>

Myers says the state and federal funding for the $15 million project was finally put in place this past month. This school will be demolished in the coming months and the new complex will be open by the fall of 2020.

Myers has been invited to the South Utica neighborhood association's next meeting this coming Monday to speak on the plans. It's being held at Notre Dame Elementary School at 6 p.m. and the public is invited.

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