NEW BRITAIN – Employees, board members and city officials welcomed Community Mental Health Affiliates into its new downtown home during a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday.
The agency, which will soon provide almost all of its services under one roof, will begin business at The Plaza at 233 Main St. starting today.
Ray Gorman, president and chief executive officer of CMHA thanked those who helped the organization transition to its new building.
“It’s the culmination of so much hard work from so many people including our legislative supporters, our board of directors, the staff and the people we serve,” Gorman said. “It’s the start of something great for downtown.”
Programs that are moving into the new location immediately include: Crisis Team, Community Support, Family Based Recovery, forensics, housing, vocational and administration.
Even though the programs are moving over right away, CMHA is still renovating its new building. Last week the organization had a capital campaign kickoff to help with some improvements needed.
“Our capital campaign has a goal of one and a half million dollars to raise,” Gorman said. “We have so far raised $300,000 in cash and $125,000 in pledges. We are pretty well on the way to meeting the $1.5 million goal. The cash and pledges that we have on hand are all from agency employees and board members.”
The funds will be used for the renovations of the first floor, which is going to include a meeting space and conference space, the pharmacy and possibly a crisis access center.
“We also know that we have two tenants in the building and we know that we have to make some improvements in their spaces,” Gorman said.
The child, family and adult outpatient services, which is currently at 125 Whiting St., will be moving to the third and fifth floors in the spring. The sixth and seventh floors hold the administrative operations. The first floor of the building will include a new location for Beacon Prescriptions, but it is planned to be part of the last stage of the renovation process.
With all these employees moving into the new location, CMHA recently made a parking commitment with the city. This commitment will accommodate employees and provide parking revenue for New Britain.
“We just signed the lease with the mayor for 150 parking spaces in the Szczesny Garage” off Bank and Chestnut streets, Gorman said. “That’s $72,000 a year that the city will get in parking revenue plus we will be validating parking for our guests and our clients that come here. That’s probably another $30,000 or so.”
Mayor Erin Stewart, who is also part of CMHA’s board of directors, said the work of the agency is significant because it improves the city one person at a time.
“There’s a reason why I don’t serve on many boards and there’s a reason why I’m on CMHA’s, because the work that you do in this community is really important,” Stewart said. “I am so honored and so proud to have CMHA in the heart of downtown. I don’t care what people have to say about mental health, the stigma that comes with it is unfortunate but we are going to work on changing that here.”
Karolina Wytrykowska, director of community programs at CMHA stated that it’s a big transition, but she is excited to be downtown.
“There are a lot of us that were looking forward to this transition. It took a lot of work on behalf of Ray and our senior team and our board,” Wytrykowska said.
CMHA also owns the building at 227 Main St., which was originally purchased with the purpose of moving its operations there. However, the 42,000-square-foot building requires a number of renovations which is why the organization purchased The Plaza. CMHA does not intend to keep the building at 227 Main St., the reason why the building is currently on the market for $749, 500.
To learn more about CMHA visit www.cmhacc.org or call 860-826-1358.
To learn more about purchasing the building at 227 Main St. contact Hunter Mathena at 860-916-2255.
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org.