CLI workshop reunion set for Friday; organization trying to sell 16 W. Main
CLI will host an open house/picnic reunion from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday at 306 South Norwalk Road W. to mark the 40th anniversary of the organization's workshop.
Free food such as walking tacos, music, games and other entertainment will be provided.
Organizers say all people who have either worked at the workshop or received services are invited to return and reunite with old friends and familiar faces. This includes former staff, clients, volunteers, family, customers and other friends.
John Schwartz"While we are trying to pull in people that we haven't seen for a long time, this event is open to anyone/everyone, including other providers and their clients," said John Schwartz, chief executive officer for CLI, which is a non-profit business whose mission is to increase earnings, status and quality of life of people with developmental disabilities (DD).
He encourages people to "stop in to say hi and grab some food" during Friday's event.
The Huron County Board of Developmental Disabilities (HCBDD) started the workshop to give people a place to go every day and help them earn a little money. Christie Lane Industries was incorporated in 1976 to be a private, not-for-profit partner that provided a way for people with developmental disabilities to get paid without getting them on the county's payroll. The workshop began operating in a then-new building at 306 South Norwalk Road W. in 1982.
For the next several decades, CLI did business as Christie Lane Industries. People attended Christie Lane School, graduated and started working at Christie Lane Industries.
In 2015, due to law changes that made it illegal for a county board of DD to provide direct services paid by Medicaid and also have the decision-making control of those Medicaid funds, CLI's board of directors agreed that CLI would expand its role to become a provider of services too.
In 2016, CLI hired its own management and staff, and HCBDD stopped providing direct services. To avoid confusion and clarify that the board and agency are separate, the name "Christie Lane Industries" is no longer used — and CLI now stands for "Community, Life, and Innovation."
Firelands Local LLC was created in 2016 as the for-profit business arm of CLI, allowing the organization to expand its business services and be the employer of record for individuals in the community for CLI-sponsored ventures.
Another LLC, CLI Good Works, recently was formed to oversee operations of Kenilee Lanes at 14 E. Seminary St., which CLI purchased in the fall of 2018.
"We thought a reunion would be fun when we realized that 2022 was the 40th year for the workshop and because CLI is expanding some workshop-based services again," Schwartz said.
"CLI ran a fun, productive shop for more than three decades before COVID. However, while there were lots of good things about the workshop, there's no getting around that it is a segregated service site. Ohio's laws are not supposed to allow segregated services to be paid for by Medicaid after 2022," Schwartz stated in a recent newsletter.
Schwartz announced CLI has started to sell some of its assets "so that we can continue to subsidize our community-integrated services while we wait for Ohio to figure out exactly how to ensure compliance and funding specific to the elimination of segregated services."
The building at 16 W. Main St. is for sale, and CLI is seeking an investor interested in making an 8 percent return on investment on Kenilee Lanes at 14 E. Seminary St. Schwartz said the bowling alley operations provide cash to CLI during the winter months.
Ewell & Associates Inc. listed 16 W. Main St. on July 17. The asking price for this three-story building is $295,000. It offers 2,520 square feet on each floor. Much of the heating, electrical, and plumbing systems have been updated, and the main floor has been renovated into a meeting space with a serving kitchen and two handicap-accessible bathrooms.
CLI also owns 38 W. Seminary St.
"We love our spaces but we know that supporting our client's meaningful membership in their community and complying with Ohio's administrative codes regarding segregated services are a much bigger priority than whether we own any particular place in that community. Our priority must be to ensure that CLI is around to support people with DD for the next 40 years," Schwartz said.
Schwartz said right now CLI spends more than it makes to provide community-based services, but he is hopeful the state will make changes to improve compensation.
"There's no going back in terms of community-integration. CLI is all in. We may still use the spaces we own and rent — like the workshop — for specific purposes, but we must also demonstrate that we are helping our clients progress toward goals specific to community employment, community integration, and/or independent living skills. The only way backward is backward. I trust that Ohio's DD system will follow through on the promises and changes that they mandated 10 years ago," Schwartz said. "For those of you who continue to choose CLI as your provider, thank you for sticking with us. We're grateful for your support."
For more information about Friday's event or CLI, call 419-706-5137 or email John@clisupports.com.
Article courtesy of Norwalk Ohio News