The 53rd Annual Freedom Gardens Day on Sunday was extra special for the disabled residents and their volunteer supporters as they broke ground for a new building at their facility on Strawberry Road and Foothill Street in Mohegan Lake.
"This is truly the highlight of my 50 years with this organization" said Frank Harris, president of Freedom Gardens as he used a silver shovel to ceremonially break ground.
The approximately 3,300 square-foot one-story structure will have three one-bedroom affordable apartments, a large community room, and an outside garden patio. It is expected to open for new and eligible mobility-impaired individuals in April of next year.
Freedom Gardens was started in Yonkers in 1958 and moved to Mohegan Lake in 1962. Founder Lillian Petock Crowley had the dream of creating a home, not an institution for physically challenged people and their families. The 5-acre site off Strawberry Road grew and now is home to a small cluster of homes for a dozen residents.
"This is an exciting day" Harris said. "This building is so important for the residents to have a place to all get together."
Gary Kleiber of Cortlandt Manor, a vice president of Freedom Gardens, has been spearheading the plans for the new facility for the past nine years.
"It will be a welcome addition to our community and will provide a pleasant place to live for three additional residents,” he said. It was designed by architect Paul R. Checco of Brewster, he said.
The Housing Action Council has assembled public funding from Westchester County, New York State Homes and Community Renewal and the Leviticus Fund. In addition, significant funds will be raised by Freedom Gardens through a building campaign to make this project affordable.
Tax deductible contributions can be made to Freedom Gardens, Inc. at 1680 Strawberry Road, Mohegan Lake, NY 10547.