OSWEGO, NY – St. Francis Commons Assisted Living Residence held its grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday afternoon.
The brand new facility at 12 Burkle St. was packed with soon-to-be residents and those who may be in the future.
“This is such a nice place,” one woman said. “It’s very warm and homey.”
Greg Osetek, director of community relations, welcomed the large crowd.
“St. Francis Commons will join St. Luke Health Services, Bishops Commons and Michaud Residential Health Services in continuing programs and services we now provide to the greater Oswego community,” he said.
He went on to thank all those who have made the facility a reality.
Rev. Robert Stephenson, a member of the board of dissectors at St. Francis, offered the invocation.
“One of the visions of the founders of St. Luke’s was all of these facilities, care for the elderly. And, I am sure they are all looking down on us today,” he said.
Jerome Mirabito, president of the board of directors of St. Francis, also thanked those who helped make St. Francis a reality.
“All of those groups are necessary and they are all here today because they all work together,” he said. “The most important group and the group that we can’t take for granted. That group is the employees of the St. Luke community.”
Holly Carpenter, on behalf of State Senator Patty Ritchie, thanked everyone for their vision and hard work.
“I know from the calls that we receive in our office that there truly is a need for this facility, and more. Hopefully you guys are planning part two,” she said. “This really truly serves a big need in Oswego County.”
Assemblyman Will Barclay said it was a great day not only for St. Francis Commons but for the entire Oswego community.
Funding for construction of the $9.1 million assisted living program residence included an $8 million HEAL-NY grant through the New York State Department of Health.
Barclay said the HEAL-NY funds have been very beneficial for Oswego County projects, “and I am happy to play a small role in making sure some of that money came here to Oswego County.”
“As Holly said, I hope you continue to grow because there is a demand for additional assisted living facilities and I look forward to working with you on them,” he added.
Oswego County Legislature Chairman Kevin Gardner presented the St. Luke healthcare campus officials with a proclamation recognizing their accomplishments.
When fully operational, St. Francis will provide an additional 30 jobs, bringing the total number of jobs provided by the St. Luke organization to more than 500, he pointed out.
Oswego Mayor Tom Gillen read the description of what the facility is.
“That’s a lot of words. But what does that mean? It means that we are a community, caring about people, whether it’s county or city or whatever. This demonstrates who we are, the people that live here,” he said.
It is always a real interesting experience coming here (the site where he attended Oswego Catholic High School), the mayor noted.
He was sad when it closed and was torn down. “But to see something like this pop up it’s breath-taking and it’s wonderful,” he said.
St. Francis was a poor man who astounded and inspired everyone by taking the Gospel literally and living it, Gillen said.
“He said start by doing what is necessary; then do what’s possible. And suddenly, you’ll be doing the impossible,” the mayor said. “What we are doing here is providing people a place so they don’t have to leave our city. That’s what makes me happy – we are growing as a community and this is a big part of that future.”
“Our vision is now becoming a reality. I’m excited because of what this building represents. St. Francis is an opportunity for St. Luke Health Services to continue to help meet the needs of the community, Terrence Gorman, CES and administrator of St. Luke Health Services, said. “This is a joyous occasion. We are celebrating among friends.”
Karen Murray, executive director of St. Francis, said many people helped make the facility a reality and in so doing weren’t looking to receive any special thanks.
“As our mission statement alludes to we are doing just what we should be doing, which is taking care of our fellow community members. We shouldn’t expect to be thanked for doing the right thing. Because, doing the right thing is what we should be doing,” she said. “No special attention is necessary.”
“We will be serving a frail population of people; those with memory and cognitive deficits and those who are physically compromised. But what they have in common and what we have in common with them is that we are all human beings and all deserving of being treated with dignity and respect,” she continued.
Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, guided tours of the facility were offered.
“We are now going through the admission process with potential residents who have contacted us,” said Julie Chetney, Senior Living Coordinator of St. Francis Commons. “We have a number of applications that have been submitted and we are meeting with potential residents and their families to complete all admission requirements prior to opening.”
“St. Francis Commons will be the only senior care residence in Oswego County offering New York State licensed Assisted Living Program services and amenities,” she continued. “We will provide supportive housing and care at a level that is less than a nursing home but more than may be found in an independent setting.”
For more information, contact St. Francis Commons at (315) 326-0870, [email protected] or the St. Francis Commons website at www.stfrancicsommons.com
Services at St. Francis Commons will include three meals a day, housekeeping with linen and personal laundry services, scheduled transportation, social programs, assistance with personal care and medication management. A hair salon, gift shop, as well as cable television and telephone connections in each room are some of the amenities to be offered.
St. Francis Commons will accommodate 60 individuals in three “neighborhoods” within the residence.
A 14-bed neighborhood Memory Care at St. Francis, will serve individuals diagnosed with mild to moderate dementia-related illness, like Alzheimer’s disease, who will benefit from a community-based living environment with specialized supportive services.
Additional financing for the project was made available through Operation Oswego County, the Oswego County Industrial Development Agency, the New York State Housing and Community Renewal and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant Program, the City of Oswego’s Office of Community Development, Pathfinder Bank and the St. Luke-John Foster Burden Fund.