Senator Patrick Leahy and Marcelle Leahy joined Howard Center staff and community partners in Shelburne on September 20 to celebrate the construction of a new home for 16 Vermonters who benefit from a structured and supportive environment.
Speaking to a crowd of about 70 who gathered for the event, Senator Leahy thanked all those who played a part in the construction of the new building and observed, “We’re a little state, but we punch above our weight.”
Howard Center Director of Innovation and Special Projects Cathie Buscaglia explained that the new home will allow the residents to relocate from a building in Burlington. “Most of the people who live together in the current Lakeview House have been together for many years. As they get older, accessibility issues in the house have become an issue.” Lakeview House began in 1998 and this year is it’s 25th anniversary.
Buscaglia explained that the new, single-story Lakeview House will include a private bedroom for each resident along with amenities like a library space, exercise room, common dining room, and a commercial kitchen and laundry. Locating it on Shelburne Road means residents will have easy access to public bus service.
“Designing the building from scratch instead of retrofitting an existing structure enabled us to create a much better environment for the people who will live here,” said Bob Bick, Howard Center CEO. “A more appropriately designed environment will have a positive impact on the wellbeing of the residents at Lakeview House.”
Another benefit of the new home will be lower operating costs. Because it is new construction, Howard Center expects it to need less maintenance, and energy efficiency has been incorporated into the design.
Funded by federal dollars secured by Senator Leahy during his last year in office, the new Lakeview House is being built by David Shenk and Jon Pizzagalli of DSLJ Ventures. “When Howard Center approached us with the project, we jumped at the chance to help,” said Shenk. “Howard Center is so important to the community; we recognized this as a chance to use our experience to give back.”
“As a non-profit organization, funding is always a question mark. David and Jon dove right in and started investing their time and work on planning and preparation long before we were even sure the funding was secured for the project,” said Buscaglia. “They’ve been close partners at every step.”
Other speakers at the event included Michael Ashooh, Chair of the Shelburne Selectboard; representatives from the offices of Senators Sanders and Welch and Representative Balint; Daniel Costello from Lakeview; and Kelly Deforge, Vice President of Howard Center’s Board of Trustees.
Construction of the new building is nearly complete, and Howard Center expects it to be ready for its new residents early in the new year.
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