Jim Hook , email@example.com Published 9:25 a.m. ET Jan. 26, 2017
CHAMBERSBURG – A nonprofit therapy center based in York County has found a place to build a center for children with special needs in Franklin County.
Leg Up Farm has been working with the local community for more than 3 years.
If plans come together smoothly, the farm could open within the next 18 months, said Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp. A team is being assembled to prepare the plans.
“Things are starting to crystallize at this point,” Ross said. “I’m more optimistic than I’ve ever been that this project is going to come to fruition.”
Leg Up Farm has an agreement for more than 15 acres in Guilford Township, but the parties have not yet settled, Ross said. He declined to identify the location.
Leg Up Farm provides comprehensive therapies under one roof in Mount Wolf for young people up to 21 years old. The operation employs 50 to 60 people, according to Ross.
The Franklin County farm likely would employ 25 to 40 people, most in health care and education positions, Ross said.
Developers plan to apply for the same competitive funds that have gone to recent construction projects by Women in Need and Summit Health, according to Ross.
“One advantage is that Leg Up has an established record,” Ross said. “We clearly think it doesn’t hurt that the governor is familiar with the operation.”
FCADC looked at potential sites for a therapy center across the county.
Leg Up offers therapeutic riding, behavioral health services, nutritional services and physical, occupational and speech therapies, according to the nonprofit’s web page. Children are engaged indoors and outdoors in fun, safe, child-friendly environments.
“Leg Up is prepared to partner with school districts and to be a resource for the school districts,” Ross said.
Leg Up will be collaborating with the Franklin County 4-H Therapeutic Riding Center, 181 Franklin Farm Lane. Volunteers at the riding center offer therapeutic horseback riding to about 70 students every season. The local center was founded in 1982.
“Both entities really seem to be embracing the other,” Ross said.
Louis and Laurie Castriota founded Leg Up in 1997 as a nonprofit. A farm in Mount Wolf was donated in 2001 to the organization, and in 2010 Leg Up Farm opened. A Wellness & Education Center was added in 2013.
Jim Hook, 717-262-4759