By JEN CARDINES
Since 1954, the Arc of Southington has been at 201 West Main Street, a town-owned building that is leased for $1 per year. For more than 60 years, they have been serving the community and growing as an organization, but their building wasn’t growing with them…until the Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC) approved an expansion plan during their March 7 meeting.
Arc of Southington CEO Sandy Amato and development coordinator Jennifer Peifer are in the beginning stages of the capital plan. After gaining PZC approval, they went to the Town Council on March 27 seeking an endorsement letter to attach to their grant proposals.
“Growing out of the space is something that we’ve been doing for quite a while,” Amato said. “We’ve been in this location for over 60 years.”
The Arc of Southington is a private, nonprofit organization that was founded as a support group for parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It is an active local chapter of The Arc national organization that has provided resources to the community for more than half a century. Arc of Southington has a recreation program funded by the Town of Southington, holds classes out of the West Main Street facility, offers programs in and out of town, and has advocacy programs and group homes.
In order to continue their efforts, the Arc staff needs a bigger work space to accommodate the growing business.
The 1,850 square foot expansion will include six new office spaces, bathroom renovations to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, 19 additional parking spaces in a reconfigured lot, and an addition that will double their large conference room space.
While the PZC approved the project, it cannot happen with funding. Peifer and Amato made grant proposals to the state as well as private organizations for help with the expansion. Three contractors are currently formulating bids for the project as well.
“We’ve applied to the Connecticut non-profit grant fund, Main Street Community Foundation, and the Calvanese Foundation to cover all costs associated with construction,” Amato told the Council. They also sought help from local legislators.
“We have the support of Rep. John Fusco and Sen. Joe Markley,” said Amato. “Fusco has submitted a House bond request form on behalf of the Arc of Southington in hopes of helping us support grant funding through the bonding committee.”
Peifer said that they expect to be notified with funding status sometime in May. “We have good people in our corner,” she said.
After their presentation, the Council unanimously approved a motion to draft a letter for the Arc of Southington to use when requesting funds. If the funding comes through, Amato and Peifer anticipate a September start date for construction.
“In a perfect world, we can start in September and finish by the end of the year,” Amato said.
For more information about the Arc of Southington, visit www.arcsouthington.org.