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Cornerstone Continues Pursuit Of Sharon Home For Those With Special Needs

Discussion, fundraising continue.

Efforts to establish a group home for adults with special needs remain strong despite  voters last week declining to allow such a project at the former Sacred Heart School for Boys.

The residents who have formed Cornerstone Community Inc. now will continue promoting community awareness, and find team leaders for such tasks as helping to find funding, Cornerstone President Eli Hauser said Monday.

"The Sharon discussion was excelerated, from our perspective," he said.

Last Monday, Sharon voters Monday night declined to allow educational projects with or without a housing component at part of the town-owned Sacred Heart site, in Deborah Sampson Park, off East Foxboro Street. An annual town meeting citizen petition to add this use option failed to get the two-thirds' support required for approval. The vote in the Sharon High School auditorium was 198 for and 242 against.

Several residents who voted against the petition said they supported the idea of housing for adults with special needs, but not the location.

In October, Cornerstone Community Inc., proposed leasing the site for an "interfaith life-educational community" for about 64 adults, "primarily with autism, Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities."

At town meeting, Daniel Rosen, whom Hauser called Cornerstone's "emotional leader," told voters that if they passed the request and Sharon issued a new request for proposals, the group would "submit a revised proposal for an educational, recreational group home for adults with special needs" and would likely be "on a smaller scale" and "serving as a home for perhaps eight to 16 individuals."

"A slew of things came out of town meeting," said Hauser, who also is a planning board member.

"We have awareness."

The next steps include "extending that discussion in a more structured manner," he said.

Cornerstone will find team leaders to do that, as well as to discuss the project with the state Department of Developmental Services as "a progressive problem for families," he said.

Also, Cornerstone will look for endowments, part of a greater capital campaign for funding for scholarships and capital costs, Hauser said.

Leasing town land is preferable to buying land, to save up front costs, he said.

Proponents also "want it to be in a central location, where the residents can walk to the amenities," Hauser said.

Todd Arnold May 10, 2011 at 02:05 AM
"Awareness"...I'll agree...there was much awareness as to what the Cornerstone proposal on the Sacred Heart Property within Deborah Sampson Park was (is) truly all about. As mentioned, nobody in town was against "Cornerstones" proposal...just the location Cornerstone decided they wanted for their project. The opposition to ANY type of housing in Deborah Sampson Park grows stronger each day as citizen become more "Aware" of the darker side of potential "Residential Housing" of any type within DSP. However, as mentioned so many times, if Cornerstone in fact finds a location other than in DSP, I’m sure the entire town will rally around the cause. If in fact they choose to come back and attempt to use the Sacred Heart property once again, they might truly see how aware the town is of their proposal. To see what the oppositions to housing in Deborah Sampson Park has to say, the darker side of the proposal, a few of the MANY the questions raised since Town Meeting, Go to….. http://www.sharonintheknow.com/
david g. nelson May 10, 2011 at 03:11 PM
Why does the project have to be so large? We have a long history of a number of group homes in Sharon for a number of different populations. They are in existing residential neighborhoods and are scaled to the size of the community. It is better for the population in the residence and the community as a whole. Find an older home in the center that needs re-hab. Fix it up to suit the needs of the group. Financing that should not be as difficult or as daunting as finding a vacant parcel. David Nelson
Gwen May 12, 2011 at 09:11 PM
I am in complete agreement, the size of the project was to large. It is so much better, to have small contained homes for adults with special needs, they need the feeling of family. That would be an impossible goal, in a large setting. My sister is in a home with four other women, they are definately a family. It is difficult enough to have a long term team, of caring staff, for a small facility. It is very important to have the staff that the residents know, care for and really enjoy. Having a consistant staff for a large facility, would be inpossible to maintain. I know from experience, that having a change of staff, especially when they are not commited, caring individuals is extremely disruptive, and disturbing, to all of the residents. We are very thankful for the long term staff, that creates a warm, and loving enviroment, at my sister's home.

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