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Photo by Dave Warner – Some of the improvements to the MV Golf & Event Center can be seen in this aerial view of the course and facilities.

As an essential non-profit organization in Herkimer County, Arc Herkimer supports over 600 people with disabilities and continued supporting many of them throughout the duration of the COVID-19 mandated shutdown. Now, the agency is beginning its re-opening plan for its various vital programs, which have been shut down since the middle of March, after receiving direction from the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities to close congregate day programming.

The Arc Herkimer Supports and Services team has been in overdrive putting plans and procedures in place the past few months. Executive Vice President of Supports and Services, Lorene Bass said, “Adapting to new regulations and routines is challenging for anyone, but especially for vulnerable groups like the people we support. We are doing everything we can to keep everyone healthy and happy throughout this pandemic.”

Limiting visitors, implementing even more vigorous cleaning procedures, and frequently screening staff and people supported are just a few of the ways in which Arc Herkimer is keeping the agency safe. Thanks to a grant collaboration between The Community Foundation of Oneida and Herkimer Counties and The United Way of the Mohawk Valley, Arc Herkimer was able to purchase two Clorox Total 360 Spray Disinfectant Systems and two One-Screen Go-Safe Body Temperature and Facial Recognition Systems, to help ensure intensified disinfecting measures and expedited frequent temperature screenings.

Arc Herkimer’s Supports and Services team also amped up the activities schedule in order to keep cabin fever at bay within their residential homes. Care packages, mock visits to a movie theater and Hibachi restaurant, at-home camping trips, a tropical luau, and trips to space and countries around the world, were just a few of the creative ways staff kept people engaged and entertained while staying at home.

Additionally, Arc Herkimer’s Career Connections division remained busy providing support to individuals employed as essential workers during the shutdown. Herkimer Industries switched up production and began making masks and other personal protective equipment. The Arc Herkimer Goods Store and Arc Park had to close for a short time, but they are now back open, following social distancing guidelines to keep everyone safe.

The opening of the MV Golf & Event Center (MVG&EC) was immensely impacted by COVID-19. Arc Herkimer became the official owner of the former Mohawk Valley Country Club on April 1st of this year, and like all other businesses, has battled through regulations to remain open. The current NYS guidelines are still extremely restrictive of the new operation; however, that hasn’t stopped golfers from enjoying the course, and the Tin Cup Tavern & Grille is open with limited dining and takeout options available.

Photo by Dave Warner – The new electronic sign that greats you as you enter the MV Golf & Event Center.

Arc Herkimer CFO and MVG&EC Interim General Manager Anthony Visconti said, “This year has been a challenging year to say the least, but we are so excited about our new business venture at the MV Golf & Event Center and we are confident that our team will continue to pull through and overcome any future challenges.”

Not only have Arc Herkimer’s seven divisions seen changes throughout the pandemic, the agency’s major fundraising efforts have as well. The 25th and final New York International Wine Auction (NYIWA) has been rescheduled for September 25, 2021. The agency’s other major annual events like the community festival, Arc Park summer concert series, and golf tournament have also been postponed until 2021.

When asked what postponing events like these mean for the agency, President/CEO Kevin Crosley said, “Our agency’s tagline is ‘building community’ and a large part of what we do relies on participation and donations surrounding events like these. We are certainly living in a challenging time, but we will stop at nothing to fulfill our mission. Our staff and the community have been incredibly supportive during this time and we cannot thank them enough. We are excited about our progress with re-opening and we look forward to continue providing first-class supports and services.”