Big plans in place to breathe new life into island eyesore - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Big plans in place to breathe new life into island eyesore

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It's a property brimming with potential, but one that has been laid to waste for several years. What will happen with it now?

It's been rotting away for years. "It's been a real struggle, again you know the building has been there for decades, it's been an eyesore - it's also a safety and health issue and there was a fire that occurred there several months ago," detailed Ben Servino. The director of the Department of Integrated Services for Individuals with Disabilities says he has big plans for the abandoned DISID building located next to Kmart across from JFK High School.

He continued, "Thanks to the governor, he's identified some funds to demolish the building and a contractor has been identified and it's gone through the RFP process. The Department of Public Works is actually tasked to be a project manager for that and hopefully the building will be demolished in the next 30 to 90 days."

Once demolished, Servino hopes to  use the property to  build a new integrated resource facility  to service the disabled community on island. "It will serve as a one-stop resource," said Servino. "People can come and receive training they can sell their arts and crafts, they can go to one place where they can get transportation services, housing services, independent living skills training, they can come in again to get preparatory training for seeking a job, they can work on their resumes cover letters, use how to use the computer, they can be able to network and socialize, they can be able to be part of the community and integrated."

He says the center is long overdue. In order to circumvent funding challenges, Servino hopes to form a public-private partnership to aid in the construction of the new facility, but says legislative approval is needed first. "I really hope that we're able to identify a public partner, that will be able to join with us, and like the governor said it's a very valuable property," he shared. "At least provide us the space that we need to operate and then we can both jointly benefit from it, it will be a benefit for us and the community, especially for our constituents."

The partnership to build an integrated resource center wouldn't only provide a critical resource for the DISID community, but it would reduce DISID's lease expenditures, and through job training and skills training, contribute to the growth of the  local economy.

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