WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - It's a project that is six years in the making. The Children's Home of Jefferson County has secured a location on Court Street in downtown Watertown, where it will move some existing services, plus add some new positions.
“So when you come in here, it’s hard to picture, but we’ll actually have walls and offices on both sides,” said Karen Richmond, home executive director.
In a partnership with Neighbors of Watertown, the non-profit organization acquired a 30-year lease for two floors inside the Empsall building.
The agency plans to open a new primary care and behavioral health clinic.
The community clinic it oversees will move from the Marcy Building to the Empsall building.
Plus, the children’s home will move its administrative and marketing offices over as well.
“It’s a different model of services. We no longer are primarily focusing on residential, which is what we were founded for. We really are more community-based and service delivery,” said Richmond.
The project is funded through a little more than $3 million in grants from the state Department of Health and the state Office of Mental Health.
Richmond says the number of employees with the children’s home has tripled in three years and moving existing employees and adding new ones downtown is helping this vision of several years come to life.
“Great news for downtown. It’s a great economic multiplier for downtown Watertown,” said Carol Loch, Watertown Downtown Business Association.
“We think this is going to be a great opportunity for us to recruit employees. Not only for it being fresh and new for our clients, it’ll be exciting for our employees to have the access to downtown that they don’t have currently,” said Richmond.
If all goes as planned, Richmond hopes to have the facilities up and running by the beginning of 2020.