We will construct and make available "The Level Playing Fields", a completely barrier-free athletic complex, which, we believe, is the first of its kind in the Country. This long-overdue facility will allow children and adults who are severely physically and mentally challenged to enjoy, sometimes with assistance, the fun of participating in team sports such as baseball, softball, football, basketball, soccer and even tennis. Physically and mentally challenged children should have the chance to participate in sports and not just watch, and every parent should enjoy the thrill of seeing them do it. We will break ground this fall for a brand new, state-of-the-art, full service extended care facility to replace Roosevelt Care Center. This new facility will greatly enhance the comfort and quality of life for the present residents of Roosevelt who will be its first occupants. This new facility, in addition to being a better place for Roosevelt residents to live, will also be more efficient to operate and will help us to reduce operating costs and eventually eliminate county subsidy of the facility's operation. In view of the inaction by Solaris Health System, (JFK, Hartwick) should another floor be added to make a total of 240 beds? I have reflected on this question, but to ensure operating efficiency and optimum patient care I believe we should stay with our original plan of 180 beds. I would also like to see the county explore the possibility of providing affordable, independent living accommodations for our residents with disabilities. Operated by a private, non-profit organization, utilizing Federal funding such an "apartment complex" would offer many residents an alternative to nursing homes or other institutionalization . Many disabled residents are not sick, and, often, do not require extended care. They need housing, which does not present barriers for independent living. With modest county financial start up and technical support, I believe we can provide an independent-living alternative for residents who want to live on their own and avoid institutional care. This would truly be a win/win situation offering a better quality of life to our disabled residents and, at the same time, avoiding the costs of institutional care. I believe such a program would be a good investment, and ultimately benefit both the residents and property taxpayers. This private, non-profit entity was first suggested to me by County Administrator, Walt DeAngelo.
These are among the goals and aspirations of your county government as we enter the year 2002. We have entered the new millennium with measurable progress and great promise for the future. We believe we have built a strong foundation that will help assure continued improvement in the quality of life for all our citizens. We will depend upon the talent and commitment of our county employees and upon the skill and commitment of the governing bodies elected to serve in all of our 25 communities.
I would be remiss if I did not commend the stewardship of our Improvement Authority, Utilities Authority, Vocational School and County College Boards, and their staffs, all of our volunteers who add to our success.
It has been said that, since September 11, life in our country will be different. As I close these remarks, I want all our citizens to know that, like them, we in county government share an awareness that our country and, of course, our county is now vulnerable to potential terrorist activity.
But, equally important I want our citizens to know that we not only share an awareness but we will also assure our readiness to respond to crises, to cooperate fully with other government entities at all levels and to put the welfare and the safety of the citizens of this county above all else.
As a county government, we pledge, that to the best of our ability we will make a positive difference for all our citizens. – less–ZoomInfo