The Kirkside Retirement Home in Roxbury is closing April 14, according to board president Thomas Hynes.

The closure has been announced to residents and staff, according to a letter from the board. The adult home has 11 residents and about 12 employees, Hynes said Thursday, and the pending closure has prompted tears by residents, employees and board members.

“It couldn’t be sadder,” Hynes said Thursday. He said reasons leading to the closure included more retirees staying at home longer, changes in the health care field and Kirkside’s challenges in meeting its annual budget of more than $200,000.

Kirkside, a state licensed adult home at 53865 State Highway 30, provided accommodations for up to 21 single or married individuals of retirement age, officials said. The residence is operated by Kirkside of Roxbury Inc., and its board of directors recently issued a letter about the decision to close.

“We want the community to be assured that, with the assistance and oversight of the Department of Health, we are proceeding with the closure carefully, with primary concern for the transfer of all our residents to other facilities,” the letter said. “We will maintain our beautiful historic building until another good use can be found.”

The Kirkside building was constructed in the late 19th century, according to the facility’s website. In 1896, Helen Gould bought the home for use as a summer residence, and after her marriage to Finley J. Shepard in 1913, she spent more time there.

Shepard died in 1938, the site said, and a decade later her brother, Frank Jay Gould, gave the property to the Reformed Church of America for use as a retirement home, which later was opened to residents of all denominations. In 1981 control and management of the home was transferred to Kirkside of Roxbury Inc., a nonprofit that operates the home in accordance with the regulations state regulations, the site said.

Directors said the building “always is in need of repair and updating, fuel costs are high, and we simply can no longer compete with new and more comprehensive care facilities.”

Hynes said the state Department of Health has approved Kirkside’s closure plans. Kirkside, for many, had become home after leaving other residences before moving into a nursing home, he said.

“This is a sad event for everyone involved,” the letter said. “The facility has always operated on a very low budget, and the past five years have been particularly difficult, despite the wonderfully generous support of our community, the state of NY, the O’Connor Foundation, and many other agencies.”

Directors said they worked “very hard to avoid closure” since realizing six years ago that there were “serious difficulties staying afloat.”

“Facilities like Kirkside are less popular than they once were,” the directors said. “In a way, places like Kirkside have gone the way of the large vacation hotels that once were thriving right here in our own area.”  

Denise Richardson, staff writer, may be reached at (607) 441-7213 or at drichardson@thedailystar.com. Follow her on Twitter at @DS_DeniseR

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