September14, 2016


Brewster House makeover continues

ParadeJoe McIntyre/staff photographer

Brewster House residents Lucille Ripley, left, and Sally O’Shea, sit in newly remodeled second-floor sun room Wednesday on the second floor of the Brewster House in Homer.

Staff Reporter

HOMER — The Brewster House is nearing its goal of $650,000 for its Living for the Future initiative — a project launched in 2014 to renovate and upgrade the house — according to executive director Michael Kilmer.
The house at 41 S. Main St., which serves as a residence for senior citizens, is still soliciting funds and has raised about $570,000, so far, Kilmer said Tuesday, but that has not halted renovations.
He does not expect the entirety of renovations to be complete for a couple of years, but many valuable improvements already have been made.
One of the most beneficial upgrades has been the addition of a bus.
“The bus is a huge thing for us,” Kilmer said. “It allows our residents to get back out into the community.”
He said recently 14 residents got to go to the state fair in Syracuse. Other trips included going to a zoo and senior centers.
Aside from the leisure trips, the bus is also used for convenience trips such as taking residents to their doctor appointment, Kilmer said.
There are 40 residents living in the Brewster House, but it can accommodate up to 45. The renovations to the facility will improve their quality of life at the house, Kilmer said.
That also involves the mental aspect of being happy with how the facility is being upgraded, he said.
Fifty-eight new windows have been installed along with new hardwoodflooring and new lighting. New tableware — cups, glasses and goblets — have been provided and the building’s fire panel was upgraded, and new firedoors and an emergency call systeminstalled.
The latter is important for the building as its previous analog system was outdated, according to Kilmer. Now, it is a radio call system, where caretakers use walkie-talkies to communicate.
The entire renovation of the first and second floors has been an extensive project and still needs to be completed, Kilmer said. He expects the majority of the project to be finished by next year, but said everything probably will not be wrapped up for a couple of years.
However, everything has come together faster than Kilmer expected as the community showed a lot of support toward the project and donated a lot of money in a short period of time, he said.
“The care and dedication of the community helped out,” Kilmer said. “It was impressive.”
He said the community can still donate to the project, or take part in the Brewster House’s brick donation project. There is a plan for an upgraded garden behind the house that will feature bricks with names engraved on them. People can purchase a brick and have a name of a loved one engraved on it, Kilmer said. And that campaign will continue even after the entire Living for the Future project is complete.

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