Gahanna will become home to a training center for people with developmental disabilities following the Feb. 22 approval of conditional uses at 222 and 240 W. Johnstown Road.

Gahanna will become home to a training center for people with developmental disabilities following the Feb. 22 approval of conditional uses at 222 and 240 W. Johnstown Road.

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), a Chrysalis Health Co. affiliate, applied for a conditional-use permit to temporarily allow 222 W. Johnstown to be used as an adult activity center for physically and developmentally disabled people, and to allow the same conditional use permanently for the building at 240 W. Johnstown Road.

The center will operate out of 222 W. Johnston Road until the other building meets requirements of the building division and Mifflin Township Fire Department, said Bonnie Gard, planning and zoning administrator.

"This is a large facility well suited to what they want," she said. "It will take about seven to eight months to finish out (240 W. Johnstown Road)."

Hector Lamourt has been named program director of the facility that will provide individuals with physical and developmental disabilities a location to focus on physical fitness, socialization and life skills.

The adult day center and athletic training facility will target fighting obesity and fostering independence in people with developmental disabilities within Franklin, Licking, Delaware and surrounding counties.

Staff member Aaron Bracone has been working with people with developmental disabilities for 10 years.

"We want to give them a center to fill their needs," he said. "We want to work hand in hand with the community to make it a success."

The center will teach life skills that will help clients meet the goals of their individualized service plan, Bracone said. A main focus of the center is to teach individuals to stay healthy through a change in lifestyle while fighting obesity with fun and social activities, he said.

PALS will work with local schools, government agencies, parks, sports organizations and recreation centers for alternative activities.

According to Bracone, the center plans to work closely with Gahanna Bowling Lanes, the Gahanna branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Gahanna Parks & Recreation and the Gahanna YMCA, among others.

"We want to instill recreation for them," Bracone said. "Gahanna is a wonderful place and we want to be here."

PALS would use many local products and services and participate in community outreach programs such as park and river clean-ups, he said.

Commission member David Andrews liked the proposed cooperation with Gahanna businesses. "They will be spending money in Gahanna, and I also like them wanting to participate in community outreach," he said. "I think it will be great. It's a wonderful opportunity, and I want to welcome you."

The facility will operate from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and transportation will be provided to clients. Bracone anticipates 10 to 20 participants in the temporary location and more than 50 at the permanent site.