Heritage Village unveils new courtyard look

Submitted Photo Job Corps students joined staff and residents at Heritage Village to unveil the recently renovated courtyard area at the skilled nursing and rehab facility.

CASSADAGA — Throughout the summer months, the maintenance team at Heritage Village, along with students from Job Corps were busily working to transform an old outdated space into something more aesthetically pleasing and more functional.  With the help of students from Job Corps, Heritage was able to complete the project and recently held a ribbon cutting to mark the completion of the project.

Since the inception and building of the skilled nursing facility, a large planted area has existed in the courtyard.  It was approximately 25 feet long, and 15 feet wide, and surrounded by a concrete wall that stood about 18 inches high.  While the planter served its purpose for many years, the team at Heritage decided it was time to replace the space with something that was more pleasing to the eyes, and could also provide a functional space that would allow residents to use the area more easily.  The big job involved knocking down the concrete wall, and removing tons of dirt from the space.  Complicating the task was the fact that the courtyard was surrounded on all sides by the Heritage Village building, with no direct access to an outside area.  Chris Wahl, maintenance director at Heritage, called in the help of Job Corps to get the job done.

Job Corps students worked alongside the maintenance team from Heritage in pulling down the concrete, removing rebar, and hauling out the debris through the hallways of the facility to an outside area.  Adam Dolce, business and community liaison at Cassadaga Job Corps, said, “This was a great collaborative project to work on.  The team from Heritage was wonderful, especially on working with our students to teach them how to properly use a jackhammer.”  The project was laborious, and dirty, but in the end was well worth it.  In addition to the work they knew would need to happen, students uncovered an old fountain or fish pond in the middle of the work area, as well as old water lines, and electrical conduit.  Heritage Village Administrator Jeremy Rutter added, “The redesign in this area will provide our residents with an option for an engaging and healthy pastime with the planters and enjoyable space.  Many thanks to the Job Corps students for making a difference for our residents for many years to come.”

The newly renovated space is now wheelchair accessible, and come spring will include raised planter beds which are also wheelchair accessible.  Plans are now in the works for Job Corps to complete the boxes as well, which will allow residents to actually work and do the planting themselves, something that would have been very difficult with the old courtyard planter.

Job Corps provides education and training to 16 to 24 year olds seeking an opportunity to launch a career. Students must meet income and readiness criteria to take part in the rigorous training program.  Students contribute thousands of hours of service to the Western New York community every year as they pursue their educational goals.  To learn more about Job Corps visit http://cassadaga.jobcorps.gov, or call the admissions office at 595-4298.