Log Cabin Nursery, Miami Beach Haven For Developmentally Disabled, To Close Due to State Cuts

We knew that Tallahassee's recent $500-million-plus slashing to Medicaid reimbursements would have some pretty dire consequences.

Unfortunately, a 35-year-old Miami Beach institution that serves as a second home for dozens of developmentally disabled adults is acting as the canary in the coal mine.

Collins Avenue's Log Cabin Nursery will close June 30, the last day of the fiscal year. It's very sad," says Margaret Feldman, communications director for Log Cabin's not-for-profit parent company, Sunrise Community. "In many ways, we're mom and dad to some of our clients."

Founded in 1975, Log Cabin employs and trains more than thirty developmentally disabled people. In the on-site training center, they learn life and social skills and how to use a computer, and graduates are given assistance in finding jobs.

It's also a damn good place to buy reasonably-priced plants, and the go-to for Beach residents shopping for Christmas trees. It won our Best Nursery award in 2003 and 2009.

The Medicaid cuts are expected to dissolve four percent of Sunrise Community's budget, says Feldman, so the company, which runs nine other training centers in South Florida, decided to close Log Cabin partly because it doesn't have any live-in clients.

The shortfall behind Log Cabin's demise is roughly $150,000 annually. Though Sunrise would love to see the operation saved by some last minute donations (cough, cough), if nothing changes it will shutter in just over a month.

"This is a consequence of bad decisions being made in Tallahassee," says Ed Furnas, whose developmentally disabled daughter works at Log Cabin. "It hurts those who are least able to defend themselves."

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