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CAO listens to neighbors, plans new site for expanded day care – on Northampton

Almost two months after neighborhood resistance prompted it to pull back on its plan for a new day care and medical clinic on Riley Street, the Community Action Organization is back with the same proposal – but in a different location.

This time, the nonprofit wants to put it exactly where local residents told them to.

Community Action Organization rethinks location of day care, medical clinic

CAO wants to build a one-story facility of about 38,352 square feet at 600 Northampton St., with the front of the building facing Humboldt Parkway and 82 parking spaces at both the front and back of the facility.

Located on a 3.25-acre vacant parking lot, the proposed new building would include a 34,000-square-foot Head Start early childhood facility and a 4,000-square-foot primary care medical clinic.

The new facility would include 13 classrooms, two gross-motor rooms, four infant rooms, an infant gross-motor room, two conference rooms, two therapy rooms, 11 clinic exam rooms, a cafeteria and several offices. A large playground with designated areas for infants and older children would be located in a courtyard surrounded on three sides by the building, with a landscape buffer on the south side.

Plans call for CAO to relocate its current True Bethel Head Start day care program, which is now located at 909 E. Ferry St. but has a lease expiring in two years. The nonprofit would also enlarge it by adding an Early Head Start program. That would allow the organization, which already runs 40 other Head Start facilities for 2,700 children in Erie and Niagara counties, to serve children from 6 weeks of age to 5 years at one site.

The day care would have up to 240 children and 69 staff members, while the doctor's office could have 33 patients and nine employees, according to a letter to Common Council President Darius Pridgen from Jeffrey S. Hazel of Silvestri Architects. Both would operate only on weekdays.

Designed by Silvestri, the masonry building would feature a brick and stone veneer facade, with aluminum-framed windows. The $7 million project would be constructed by RP Oak Hill Building Co.

Former Deaconess Hospital site eyed for day care, medical clinic, single-family houses

CAO is seeking two variances for reduced transparency, because it wants to have higher window sills that will be "safer for the children and pose less of a distraction," and doesn't need as many windows for the exam rooms, kitchen and pantry areas. It's also asking for a special-use permit from the Common Council, which will be considered later this month. The Planning Board also will conduct a site plan review, likely in October.

CAO had originally planned virtually the same project at 563 Riley St., part of the 5.7-acre vacant site of the former Deaconess Hospital, which CAO bought after Kaleida Health closed and demolished the 268,000-square-foot hospital complex five years ago.

Plan for Deaconess Hospital site to get city board review

But officials learned from a pair of public hearings on July 19 and 26 that many neighbors preferred the Northampton site instead.

Meanwhile, CAO still plans to redevelop the rest of the site, likely into single-family, owner-occupied homes, but the details of those plans are not yet final.

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