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Old Cumming rec building may get new purpose
city

CUMMING — A municipal building slated for replacement could get a second life as a center for adults with special needs.

During its meeting Tuesday night, the Cumming City Council voted 5-0 to approve a request to use the old recreation building as a center for adults with disabilities.

The building is being used as a recreation office until the new City Park building is completed across from it on Pilgrim Mill Road.

Making the request was Lisa Bennett, former assistant director of special education for Forsyth County Schools.

“Forsyth County has a wonderful special education program in its school system, but we have nothing for adults once they leave [it],” Bennett said.

“These adults cannot really work in the community and we need some kind of place that they can come to learn skills, to work jobs, to take classes, to be with their friends up until the age of whatever.”

Bennett said she would be working with Creative Enterprises of Lawrenceville, whose local government has leased it a building at a cost of $1 per year for 30 years.

Prior to the vote, Mayor H. Ford Gravitt said he hoped Cumming would be able to offer a similar lease agreement.

“I’d recommend that the city lease it based on the attorneys getting together to work out the lease to be cheapest rate it can be,” he said.

Bennett said the program will hopefully lift the burden on parents whose children can no longer attend the school system by serving as a place to go and learn several skills.

“Our goal would be to offer them classes. We do meteorology, we do life skills, we do current events but they also do jobs, they also work,” she said. “They do contracts with companies, Creative Enterprises has companies that they contract with, so the clients can make money and they feel worthwhile.”

For Bennett, Cumming was an ideal location due to accessibility.

“In looking throughout, it needed to be in the city … because we are going to be busing in from all over the county,” she said. “We’re going to serve adults countywide, so we really needed it for convenient to be in the city.”

Bennett told the council that the program “is something, Forsyth County, Cumming has always needed.”

“I just think that we need something for these adults who have nothing else to do, and I’m worried if we don’t start it now, I’m afraid it won’t get started,” she said.