This letter is in regard to The News article concerning an agreement that has been reached between Erie County and Berkshire Farm Center and Services for Youth to operate two residential facilities for PINS (Persons In Need of Supervision) on Camp Road in Hamburg.
The proposed site includes three buildings, two of which will be made into the residential facilities. The article stated that each of the two buildings would house eight to 12 youngsters ages 10 to 15 in a "nonsecure facility."
The third building houses a day care center, KinderCare, which cares for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years. These buildings all share common green space and a common parking area.
While we understand the need to have a youth facility and are not opposed to locating one in Hamburg, we feel it would be inappropriate to place it next to a day care center. While the youths who would reside here have not been accused of any crimes, there is a reason they have been designated as PINS.
The day care center, with its activities and playgrounds, would be an attractive place to these youths. Berkshire said it "intends to make the facilities so inviting that youths won't have an incentive to walk away." But the article disclosed that Berkshire opened a similar facility in Columbia County in 1996 and 13 children walked away the first year.
This project would also have a detrimental effect on KinderCare. Currently it is a successful, taxpaying business that provides education and entertainment for its clients and jobs for its caring employees. This success would obviously be jeopardized. Parents would not bring their small children there if there were even the slightest possibility of any disturbance. And without children, KinderCare would go out of business.
Please reconsider this site and try to find another location.
KEVIN AND LORIE BIRT