...to enrich the lives of families with special needs children
through customized therapeutic experiences
Thursday, September 21st, 2006
Monday, the Matthew Potter Memorial Golf Tournament ended its 5-year run. But that won't be the end to the 7-year-old boy's memory.
The golf tournament raised an estimated $175,000 during its tenure for Leg Up Farm, a proposed physical and occupational therapy center for children with disabilities.
Jack Lehr, the tournament coordinator, said Tuesday the event would cease because it had accomplished its goal: to raise awareness and funding for Leg Up Farm.
But Lou Castriota, Jr., Leg Up Farm's founder, vowed that Matthew would not be forgotten.
Castriota said that a centralized room within the center will be known as "Matthew's Town," in honor of the boy who was fatally injured on a ride at the York Fair on Sept. 10, 2001, said Jack Lehr, who organized the tournament.
"That's a great way to keep Matthew's memory alive," he said.
Also at the tournament, attendees learned that Leg Up Farm is closer to breaking ground than ever before.
State Rep. Stan Saylor, R-Windsor Township, who was at the tournament's dinner at The Country Club of York, told the more than 200 attendees to "keep an eye to the future (because), hopefully, a grant will be coming from the state."
Saylor said Tuesday that he and other members of York's delegation to the Pennsylvania legislature had been working with state Sen. Mike Waugh, R-Shrewsbury, who spearheaded the efforts to get Leg Up Farm funding.
Castriota began the project nine years ago when he found difficulty in getting his daughter, Brooke, now 10, to various therapies. Brooke suffers from mitochondrial disease, which is similar to cerebral palsy.
An all-inclusive facility would be easier on parents and children with disabilities, offering a wide range of therapies under one roof.
Since he developed the idea, Castriota has acquired 18 1/2 acres of land and approval from the East Manchester Township Planning Commission.
His most formidable challenge was raising funds for the farm.
But Castriota said he found Saylor's announcement "absolutely thrilling."
"It's been a long and challenging road, but it's going to be such a sweet victory for our children when we open up the doors," he said.
Matthew's Town will be at the nucleus of the farm, a 110-square-foot facility along North Sherman Street Extended. It will be a sensory play room, where children can visit places such as a farmer's market or an ice cream shop, he said.
"It's really neat that Matthew's Town will be about his spirit living on through the lives of other children helped by Leg Up Farm," Castriota said.
The York Daily Record/Sunday News
Monday, June 19th, 2006
The East Manchester Township Supervisors are considering a request for Leg Up Farm.
Lou Castriota, Jr., chairman of Leg Up Farm, a proposed developmental and therapeutic center for children with special needs and their families, requested potential tax forgiveness of about $3,500 from the township.
“We could break ground before the end of the year or at the beginning of next year,” Castriota said.
Barb Warren donated the land for the center and, at the transfer of the deed, it is not certain if a rollback tax will apply. Among the township, York County and Northeastern School District, the taxes could potentially amount to $78,000. Castriota approached the township first but will be seeking tax forgiveness, if needed, from the county and school district, too.
State Rep. Keith Gillespie sent a letter requesting the township’s cooperation saying that Leg Up Farm would be a “tremendous asset to not only the township, but Northeastern School District, and the County of York as well.”
The entire York County delegation of elected legislators at the state and national level, as well as, the presidents of Memorial Hospital and WellSpan have written letters of support for the project during the nine years that Castriota has been working on it.
Steve Gross, Jr., chairman of the township supervisors, said he would like to see what the other entities do, before taking action. However, it seemed like a better idea to donate the $3,500 rather than give a tax forgiveness so as to not set a precedent, he said. Gross invited Castriota to come back to the July 11 meeting.
The services offered at the proposed facility, 4248 N. Sherman St., would include horse, physical, psychological, occupational, music, aqua, art, speech and recreational therapies. Also, family support would be provided.
The next step will be to bring the final land development plan before the supervisors and to apply for a building permit.
The estimated cost of the building is $9.97 million and construction will take approximately 11 months.
By JOLI HARRINGTON, The York Daily Record/Sunday News