Schenectady County

Jack’s Place has four walls to go with dream

Jack’s Place finally has a home.

Jack’s Place finally has a home.

Out-of-area visitors with loved ones at local hospitals will soon be able to stay for free at 17 Rosa Road.

“It’s been a long time,” said Assistant Police Chief Jack Falvo, one of the organizers. “Now it’s a reality.”

The project, which is similar to a Ronald McDonald House, has been on hold since residents argued against it moving into the historic neighborhood.

The fight began when a resident at the edge of the GE Realty Plot neighborhood offered to sell his house for well less than market value to give the project a home. His house is directly across from Ellis Hospital, making it a convenient home away from home for the families of long-term patients.

But other residents objected, saying their historic neighborhood specifically forbids group homes, apartments and any commercial uses other than small offices. The fight eventually went before the City Council, which decided in favor of the residents.

Jack’s Place was sent back to the drawing board. But now the directors have found a new location outside the historic district on Rosa Road.

The Planning Commission recently approved Jack’s Place to open a “medical hospitality house” in the single-family home.

Now the directors are closing on the house. Their purchase offer was contingent on getting Planning Commission approval.

The home won’t open anytime soon — there’s a lot of work to do. They hope to provide eight bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. There will also be a shared kitchen, living room and dining room.

“It’s going to take awhile,” Falvo said. “We have an extensive renovations list to do.”

The home will be open to out-of-town families staying in Schenectady while their loved ones are at Ellis Hospital. Families with a patient at one of the local rehabilitation hospitals are also welcome to use the facility. Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital is next to Ellis, and officials there have said families of their patients need a home like Jack’s Place.

Unlike the controversy last time, the Planning Commission had just one concern this time: parking. Ellis and Sunnyview may allow those staying at Jack’s Place to park in the hospital lots. If that falls through, organizers must submit plans for a parking lot on the property, the Planning Commission decided.

Jack’s Place was organized by the Falvo family after Jack Falvo III, 21, died in a personal watercraft accident in 2005.

Friends and family said they wanted to celebrate his life rather than dwell on his loss. A cousin worked at Sunnyview and cited the need for a hospitality house, and the family decided to make it happen in honor of Jack.

His father, the assistant police chief, said the creation of Jack’s Place was helping to assuage his grief.

“It’s a reality. Obviously it started off a nightmare for my wife and me, and now it’s a beautiful dream,” he said. “It’s a good feeling. I know we’re going to help a lot of people.”

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