The Cincinnati Autism Center will move to Fairfield this summer
FAIRFIELD — A move this summer from Springdale to Fairfield will give the Cincinnati Autism Center more space to serve additional children. The center purchased an empty 3-story office building at 100 Commercial Drive, just south of the Furniture Gallery.
The nonprofit center was founded by Fairfield residents Matt and Susan Brennan 20 years ago and is now located in a former church in Springdale.
“We are really excited about moving to Fairfield,” said Susie Wolfe, the center’s executive director. “It’s about a mile and a half from where we are now.”
The autism center currently serves about 60 children between the ages of 3 and 21 and has a waiting list, Wolf said. With the larger building, the center wants to expand to 100 students within the next five years.
“We look like a school and act like a school but we are actually an educational behavior center,” Wolf said.
The center began as an early intervention program in Butler County, serving about 16 children. Today, it provides educational, vocational, speech, music and behavioral services from trained therapists. The center employs about 60 people. Its clients now come from 26 school districts in Butler, Hamilton and Warren counties.
The move to Fairfield allows the center room to expand and reuse the office building that has been empty since 2020.
“The office market — regionally, locally, nationally and internationally — has been significantly impacted since COVID,” said Nathaniel Kaelin, Fairfield’s director of economic development. “We feel that reoccupying this vacant building will be part of a positive change in this (Ohio 4) corridor.”
The center has completed the drawings to transform the first and second floors into classrooms, treatment rooms, and offices. Work is expected to start soon and finish in August. No renovations are scheduled for the third floor at this time, Wolfe said.
To help the center, the Fairfield City Council last month approved a forgivable loan of $100,000. The money comes from a $3 million federal American Rescue Plan Act allocation from Butler County that targets redevelopment projects along the Ohio 4 corridor.
Under the terms of the five-year loan, the center must begin operations in Fairfield no later than October 31.
The $20,000 annual premium will be waived each year if the center employs at least 45 people and the city receives at least $22,500 in income tax.
This article originally appeared on the Cincinnati Enquirer website: Cincinnati Autism Center moves to Fairfield