We have something great to celebrate!
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of county boards of developmental disabilities, which were implemented under state law to better serve people with special needs.
The primary function of the board is to ensure that those we serve in Marion County are receiving appropriate services, including early intervention services, preschool and school programs, community services (adult programs), and residential services. Additionally, we want to ensure assistance through service and support administration (SSAs) who provide guidance to individuals and families through needed connections to other community resources. This is really important stuff and I’m proud to have been a part of it in some capacity for 24 years – almost half of our existence.
Our organization is not the only thing that has been around for 50 years. Our facilities have been here too. Because of this, we are in need of some improvements. Many of those improvements are in motion so I wanted to update everyone on those projects.
Since we had to remove the County Board employees from the Marca facility, some employees were relocated into the workshop area at the Beidler. The shell of the former workshop area in the Beidler Center will be renovated to include office space for our Community Services Department as well as a “staff lounge” area. There are several steps to this process. There is a request for proposals, bids, resolutions with the County Commissioners, and then, finally – construction. We are hopeful that this project will be completed by the end of this year and our Community Service employees will have a place to call home. We appreciate their patience. Despite their current conditions, they are doing great things for those we serve with a smile and a great attitude. Thank you!
To create room in the Beidler, we are having an auction on September 20 at 4:30 p.m. This is a great opportunity to invite the community to our facility, make space and also generate a little revenue. Tell your family, friends, and neighbors to join us for some great finds. We greatly appreciate the work of our facilities and maintenance crew for all of the long hours preparing for the auction. Moving things around, tagging items, and prepping the area has been a big job and it is greatly appreciated.
We have also recently completed a re-keying project in the Beidler to provide a safer environment for staff. To some of you, I have heard this feels like a “big brother move” because we have removed keys from individual offices. Please know that is not the intention. It is purely a safety upgrade. With fewer keys to keep track of, we have better control over your safety. That is the only intention of this project. Please, feel free to come and talk to me in further detail if you would like to gain a better understanding of the reasoning behind this project.
Lastly, we have been very fortunate to collaborate with Head Start on a grant-funded project to improve our playground. The grant that Head Start has received will fully fund the project and will allow close to 71,000 dollars worth of upgrades including rubber mulch, wheelchair accessibility, more ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant equipment and a better experience for the all pre-school students.
There is a lot to celebrate. Fifty years of service to our individuals, families, and community, great staff, great providers and upgrades to our facilities that will allow us to continue doing great things for many, many, years to come.
Cheryl Plaster, Superintendent