A Rocky Hill facility that was once used to help a family affected by Hurricane Katrina is assisting local people through their own personal tragedies. However, the home was recently discussed as well as the possibility of selling the property during
Last week, Facilities Director Richard Cooke took Patch on a tour of the Kennedy Home, which was built in 1918 and is owned by the town.
About seven years ago, the was located at 673 Old Main St., also known as the Kennedy House. The human services department was located on the first floor and youth services department was on the second floor of the building. However, the town decided to construct a new town hall and police department and that meant that the two departments would be moved.
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In October 2002, the was completely renovated. In October 2005, the new was completed, which would house the youth and human services departments.
Once the construction was complete, the Human Services Department would store extra medical supplies and canned goods for the town pantry at the Kennedy House. However, Cooke said the building was in need of repairs.
“The house was in poor shape and needed a renovation,” he said.
In 2005, the country was struck by the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and the town of Rocky Hill wanted to help the families affected by the natural disaster. The members of the town staff, highway department, council and local businesses worked together to renovate the Kennedy House in September 2006.
“A lot of people came together to renovate this place,” Cooke said. “It was totally renovated with all volunteers.”
Cooke said a lot of the town staff worked on nights and weekends to get all the renovations completed. The volunteers put in a new roof, floors, kitchen and bathroom and the renovation took roughly four months, according to Cooke.
“It was truly volunteerism,” he said.
Shortly after the renovations were completed, a family from New Orleans moved into the home for a year.
Since 2006, the house has been used sporadically including by a family that lost their home in a fire. The occupants are allowed to live in the Kennedy House anywhere from a week to a couple of months and must be working while there, Nicole Phillips of human services department said.
"It is to help them get back on their feet," she said. "It is definitely useful."
Cooke said the building is better served to helping one family than several families at one time. The house is designed for “people who have fallen on hard times for any reason,” he added.
“The town helps as much as they can," he said.
The shed at the Kennedy House also houses the shovels, ice melt and blowers for snow removal for the surrounding town properties. There is a community garden that was started by volunteers.
During the recent budget workshops, the Kennedy House, which has an assessed value of $168,490, according to a Courant story in 2010, became the topic of discussion.
Councilor Cathy Vargas suggested selling the property and money received from the sale possibly being used for the schools and the capital improvement plan.
“If we are not using it for anything, we are losing personal property taxes,” she said at the final workshop.
Majority Leader Timothy Moriarty, who volunteered time renovating the home, said the Kennedy House has been used as a safe house for domestic violence victims and currently, is being occupied by a tenant.
The council is expected to discuss the Kennedy House at a meeting later this year. The agenda for the July 16 meeting has not been released at this time.