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United Cerebral Palsy Taking Over Former VNA Property
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
08:41PM / Monday, July 09, 2012
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The North Adams Planning Board approved United Cerebral Palsy's permit application to operate on Curran Highway.

UCP officials say they've been waiting a long time for the right property to fulfill their programming needs to come on the market. The Curran Highway building had been the home of VNA & Hospice of Northern Berkshire until recently.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — United Cerebral Palsy will soon have a new home in North County.

Agency officials on Monday night received a special permit from the Planning Board to operate in the former Visiting Nurse Association building at 535 Curran Highway.

"We knew it was coming on the market and we've been waiting with fingers crossed that we could get a purchase-and-sales agreement first," said UCP Executive Director Christine Singer. She expected a closing in mid-August.

The building was emptied in March when VNA & Hospice of Northern Berkshire moved into the Doctor's Building on the campus of North Adams Regional Hospital. But notice that it would be sold was announced last fall as part of a general consolidation of Northern Berkshire Healthcare properties.

United Cerebral Palsy Associates of Berkshire County Inc. has been looking for a permanent home for the last six or seven years, said Anthony Hyte, president of the board of directors.

The nonprofit agency has been in a few locations, including on Main Street, Curran Highway and currently on the first floor of 26 Union St. The new location is larger at 13,248 square feet.

"We've been looking for a long time," said Hyte. "We'll be able to expand our services in North County.

"Our staff really deserves this place, this is a nice place for them and to serve our clients."

UCP also has offices on West Street in Pittsfield and serves about 2,200, including 500 families in North County.

Architect David Westall and Mick Callahan of Callahan Signs said very little would change on the exterior. "What you see there is really what you'll end up with with UCP," said Westall.

The majority of the work would be inside, including upgrading interior finishes; removing the carrells; updating the kitchen, bathrooms and security/fire systems; adding playground equipment and safety fencing; ensuring Americans With Disabilities Act compliance; and meeting other guidelines.

Singer said the new location would host a variety of programs, including adult family care and life skills, individual and family support, the Northern Berkshire Early Intervention program, empowerment programs and children's programming.

"What a great use for the building," said Planner Kyle Hanlon. "This is a great use, it's a natural continuation."

The board approved the special permit to operate professional business offices, business services, and education programming by a non-profit educational corporation in a CC-1 zone with Paul Hopkins (spokesman for Northern Berkshire Healthcare) and Donald Keagan (an NBH corporator and former UCP board member) abstaining from discussion and voting.

In other business:

• A special permit application for Ernest Perry to operate a secondhand store at 510 State Road was approved with conditions that no merchandise or displays be left outside and no trailers or automobiles be parked overnight.

• A special permit application from Brian Hicks to operate a medical testing lab at 85 Main St. (the Concourse) was postponed for one month at his request.

• Guy Cariddi of Cariddi Auto Agency & Tunnel City Transport indicated he was starting the business "clean and fresh" and expected to start at three taxis and grow to seven.
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