Department of Disabilities and Special Needs anticipates move

By Pamela Brownstein

In 2005, when the Beaufort County Department of Disabilities and Special Needs first realized it was outgrowing its current facilities, many staff members looked forward to the day they could have a building that would best serve their special needs residents.
Now, after six years, under the leadership of Beaufort County and state officials and many other dedicated people, this dream is becoming a reality. The much-needed new facility that will accommodate those with developmental disabilities will open in November.
The department’s Executive Director Mitzi Wagner said the 26,000-square-foot building, located at 100 Clearwater Way, allows the 114 adult residents enrolled in the county’s day program to be under one roof, instead of being split up due to space limitations as they are today.
Perhaps the highlight of the new center is the courtyard, known as The ABLE Garden, sponsored by the ABLE Foundation. The garden will feature fountains, bird feeders, benches, but more importantly will provide a safe and peaceful space for the adults with disabilities to enjoy.
Wagner described the purpose of the garden is to “stimulate the senses naturally.”
The courtyard relies entirely by the support of the community, and the ABLE Foundation is still looking for donations from the public to give the garden the tranquil atmosphere that was originally imagined by the landscape architect.
Wagner said the facility will also have a pottery shed as well as a greenhouse, where residents can sell the flowers and vegetables that they grow.
The public is invited to the dedication of the new building and an open house on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information about how to donate to the garden or for more about the programs offered, call 255-6290 or email mwagner@bcgov.net.

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