Travis Proulx, spokesman for the Office For Peoples With Developmental Disabilities, told North Country Public Radio there is an overall plan to close New York's developmental centers, but Sunmount is not one facilities slated for closure.
The General Brown Central School District in Dexter, along with...
There’s relief this morning after state officials scrambled yesterday to ease fears the Sunmount Developmental Center in might be closed.
Travis Proulx, spokesman for the Office For People With Developmental Disabilities, said Sunmount is not one of the large-scale facilities slated for closure, “It’s very unfortunate that unnecessary anxiety and confusion was caused by this technical difference that the commissioner wishes she had clarified to the interviewer yesterday.”
When asked earlier this week whether Sunmount would close, Commissioner Courtney Burke answered that the state hopes to close all of New York's large developmental centers over the next three years.
According to Proulx, Sunmount is not part of that plan. He said Sunmount provides a type of care that can’t be guaranteed in group homes or other smaller, more community-based settings. “Sunmount is not a developmental center,” he said. “It will continue to provide specialized services to individuals who require the intensive treatment.”
Tupper Lake village Mayor Mickey Desmarais said yesterday that he was glad for the clarification — and eager to erase any confusion about Sunmount’s future. “Someone misspoke,” Desmarais said. “Sunmount DDSO is not involved in this whatsoever. Sunmount is a special needs unit, it’s not even being considered to close. It’s unfortunate that this got out like this. But we need to put this to bed as quick as possible.”
Desmarais said Burke’s statement sent shockwaves through the community. “I mean I went to my granddaughter’s kindergarten graduation this morning and there was people panicking, people who said they cried on their way to work – I mean this is so unfortunate,” Desmarais said. “Be careful when you speak. This is like a tidal wave.”
Sunmount is Tupper Lake's lead employer.