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Erie’s Barber Institute plans group home on cleared lot

Erie’s Barber Institute plans group home on cleared lot

By Ed Palattella 
Posted Dec 28, 2018 at 6:11 AM Updated Dec 28, 2018 at 6:11 AM

The institute razed a residence it owned at East Avenue and East Second Street. It intends to open a group home for residents with complex medical issues.

A newly vacant lot across the street from the Barber National Institute eventually will be the site of a group home meant to keep up with the institute’s changing demographics.

The institute plans to develop a new group home for adults with intellectual disabilities who also have medical issues that require additional care.

Many of the institute’s adult residents “are living longer with complex medical needs” institute spokeswoman Mary Cuneo said. She said the institute plans to build a specially designed group home for those residents but has no timetable for construction on the lot, which is at East Avenue and East Second Street.

Located on the 0.3-acre lot had been a one-story, 3,088-square-foot, 51-year-old, single-family residence with an address of 203 East Ave., according to Erie County assessment records. The Barber National Institute bought the property in 1999. The institute had most recently used the building for offices, Cuneo said.

The property and building had been assessed at $83,900 before the demolition of the residence, according to assessment records. The property is listed as tax-exempt, as is other property of the nonprofit institute.

Demolition of the building started on Sept. 21, Cuneo said. Local demolition specialist John Lipchick took out a demolition permit on Sept. 18, and listed the estimated cost of razing the building at $12,000, according to the permit on file at City Hall.

The project is the latest effort to update or expand the Barber National Institute, which the late Gertrude A. Barber founded in 1952. The institute a year ago spent $4.2 million to renovate its adult day services building at 99 East Ave., just north of East Second Street.

The institute currently operates 54 residential group homes serving 187 adults in Erie County. It operates 37 residential group homes in Philadelphia and six in suburban Pittsburgh.

Ed Palattella can be reached at 870-1813 or by email. Follow him on Twitter at