Special Needs Center Opening Is June 20

Lebanon — A new community center for adults with special needs will hold its grand opening June 20 at 4 p.m.

Spark! Community Center is located at 75 Bank St., the former junior high school. It’s designed for adults with special needs, their families and caregivers, and “caring members of the Upper Valley,” organizers said in a recent news release.

The family-oriented event will take place under tents on the adjacent ballfield. It will include an overview of plans for the center, the debut of mascot “Sparky,” performances by Global Campus participants, raffles, and tours of the center and the future site of a handicap-accessible community garden.

An outdoor barbecue begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by a dance with a DJ from 7 to 9 p.m. inside the center. The open house will continue on June 21 and 22 from 1 to 5 p.m.

The recently renovated space features a computer lab for participant use and information about activities, programs and services for adults with special needs, their families and caregivers.

It also includes a space for arts and crafts projects and science experiments; a TV and gaming lounge; and pingpong, air hockey and foosball tables. A seating area contains tables for playing board games and other activities.

The center will be open Tuesdays through Fridays, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, go to www.sparkcommunitycenter.com.

The nonprofit was founded by Lisa Green, the parent of an adult son with autism and epilepsy, and disability rights advocate John Fenley.

Developer Mike Davidson, who owns the building, has converted it into 42 studio apartments and is renovating the old gym into a private fitness center. Davidson said it’s a privilege to be able to provide a bright, accessible downtown location for Spark!

“Lisa and John have worked tirelessly to make their dream a reality,” he said. “The conversion of an historic school into a much needed community center is a natural fit.” — Staff report