Ashler Manor starts expansion project
MUNCY – A new expansion in Muncy Township along John Brady Drive is taking place at one of the area’s oldest properties. What used to be the old Manor House built in 1861 as a summer home for the Potter family known as Oakland, is now owned and operated by Families United Network, Inc. Thirty three acres are devoted to caring for foster children, mostly adolescent girls in a home like setting to give them support and life readiness skills to prepare them out of the child welfare system.
“Our non-profit agency works closely with over 50 county children and youth agencies throughout Pennsylvania,” said President and CEO, Tom Neuhard. Now the organization has a need to expand at its current location known as Ashler Manor and build another building for administrative purposes. “We have outgrown this facility,” added Neuhard.
On Friday morning, July 25, 2014 Families United Network, Inc. hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on the campus to increase space for a new office building where they will partner with Intrada Technologies.
In 1996 the property was transferred to Families United Network, Inc. “It was old and needed much work,” said Joe Smith, Chair of Ashler, Inc. for Families United Adoption Care & Residential Services.
Besides a vacation home for a wealthy family who probably arrived by railroad to “avoid the summer heat in Philadelphia”, its history also claims an Inn and Tavern. “Wedding receptions were once held here,” Smith said. When it was acquired the building was vacant, neglected and in much disarray. “We took it over to help kids,” Smith added.
In 2000 the organization served 119 foster children. Today it is 240 with 6 foster care offices, 140 employees and 43 clients, up from 20. “We have served 1.3 million dollars worth of adoptions,” announced Neuhard during the groundbreaking ceremony. 43 percent of children served are between the ages of one to five. “This is a rededication and a pledge to give support for those who need help,” Smith added.
With some zoning issues to resolve through the Lycoming County Planning Commission and approval from Muncy Township, land development soon took place with the help of Visco Architects, and a four acre subdivided lot began construction on Monday, July 28.
David Steele from Intrada Technologies has obtained 25 percent ownership of the new building so that they may also include their administrative offices. Specializing in IT management and web development, his Muncy business which also serves Families United, has grown over the 14 years. Steele and his business partner, Paul Boyer will be relocating their offices into the new building. “We have built a successful relationship,” said Steele who grew up in the tri-town area.
Both businesses have outgrown their current facilities and are now ready to expand to a new 12,000 sq. foot building to keep pace with current programs where they will operate on a state wide level in supporting cooperation.
A completion date is expected for late spring.
Families United Network, Inc. is one of a few social service organizations in Pennsylvania that is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) for Foster Care, Adoption and Residential Programs. COA is an international accreditation that requires agencies to demonstrate rigorous standards in quality of services and management.