Watts: $1 million needed to start a community center | Greene County

CAIRO — City officials are moving forward with a plan to convert a former martial arts teaching center into the city’s new community center.

The city purchased the former Dojo martial arts and fitness academy on Route 32 in November with plans to renovate the space and turn it into a senior center. The rear of the building would also be used to house the city’s ambulance service.

At the Feb. 7 city council meeting, council unanimously passed a pair of resolutions to hire engineering consulting firm Barton & Loguidice in Albany to apply for grants for the senior center project and to prepare a site plan for the project.

The board authorized the company $5,500 for grant writing, $4,600 for interior design, $1,200 for asbestos abatement and $1,900 for laboratory analysis.

“We have to tear down walls, rewire and install a kitchen,” city supervisor Jason Watts said of the project. “It would be a community center where they could do Meals on Wheels and the elderly can come in and we’ll put a TV up and have games there that they can play. We talked about putting gardens outside for people to work with.

Watts said he wants to employ the city’s construction and field crew to eventually work on site renovations on rainy days when they can’t work outdoors.

“The county said they would give us a dumpster,” he said. “So I’m going to try to do it with the money we have and hopefully Barton & Loguidice can get us a grant. If they can get us a grant, they said it could be over $1 million. That would put us exactly where we need to be to really start moving forward.A kitchen is going to cost between $70,000 and $80,000.On our own, we might be able to afford to do the community part with some help from the county. The ambulance part may have to wait, because we certainly don’t have the money for it, but we have to do something.

Councilman Tim Powers does not have a timeline for when the community center might be completed.

“We really don’t. It depends on how quickly the grant money comes in and how quickly we can start the process,” he said. “We are only at the very beginning. We haven’t done anything other than purchase the building at this point.

At Monday’s meeting, a public hearing was set for the March 7 council meeting for a local law that would establish alternate side parking on Main Street in the city.

With cars currently parked on both sides of Main Street, Watts said it was difficult for the city’s snow plows to clear the main thoroughfare.

“It’s very difficult for the plow trucks today to come down and swing from one side to the other and miss all the cars,” he said. “It’s a nightmare. You can never clean it. It never looks good. There’s always a lump of snow somewhere.

The municipality is responsible for cleaning the sidewalks of the departmental road.

Watts said the parking issue has been brewing since he joined the city council four years ago.

“I propose a public hearing to make it real law,” he said after Monday’s meeting. “We will try to mirror Catskill’s Law. So if someone is moving from Catskill to Cairo, they will already know the routine. It needs to get easier for businesses with more people coming into the county. »

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Jill E. Washington