EDISON – The Clara Barton Branch Library building will be repurposed, while library operations will be moved to a rental space along Amboy Avenue, the community's downtown area.
Mayor Sam Joshi and the Edison Public Library are partnering to create a facility to serve youth with disabilities at the branch library, 141 Hoover Ave., tucked in a residential neighborhood off Amboy Avenue near the New Jersey Turnpike.
Plans call for the facility to allow children and young adults with disabilities, especially those on the autism spectrum, multiple disabilities and other health impairments, to socialize, play and build life skills.
The second floor of the building will be converted into a sensory gym with equipment that includes trampolines, tactile features and more to create an educational and stimulating space for programming and free play to serve township students with disabilities.
The sensory gym is expected to cost less than $50,000 and the township is hoping the cost will be covered by Community Development Block Grant Funds, according to the mayor.
The mayor's administration is hoping to have the library operations vacated by Dec. 1. Moving operations will be covered within the current department of public works budget.
Plans call for the Clara Barton section to be serviced with a bookmobile and then move the branch to a rental space on Amboy Avenue. Library officials hope an Amboy Avenue location will increase visibility and encourage more residents to use the library's resources.
Some renovations to a new bookmobile have already begun, officials said.
“Our township has a wonderful school system that serves the needs of students of all abilities,” Joshi said. “We are happy and proud to announce this center that will supplement our students’ education. This center will affirm my administration’s belief and commitment to our students. When given the right resources, everyone can thrive.”
School officials estimate that about 1,900 township students are eligible for special education services.
Joshi added that he hopes this is just the beginning for Edison’s youth with disabilities. He aims to bring specialized programming to the center and looks to expand Edison’s summer camp offerings, he said.
Residents with questions or input can contact Project Manager Catriona Leary at email@example.com.
Suzanne Russell is a breaking news reporter for MyCentralJersey.com covering crime, courts and other mayhem. To get unlimited access, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
This article originally appeared on MyCentralJersey.com: Edison library to become Special Needs Programming Center