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City hears requests for funding

Senior center may close if money not provided

June 10, 2009
By KAYLEIGH KARUTIS, The Leader-Herald

GLOVERSVILLE - The financially strapped Common Council heard requests for funding from two groups Tuesday.

An official with one of the groups - the Senior Citizens Service Center of Gloversville & Fulton County - said without the city's help, the center may be forced to close its doors.

Senior center Executive Director Catherine Mueller said the center is barely making ends meet and may be forced to close if it doesn't receive some funding soon.

Article Photos

The Leader-Herald/Kayleigh Karutis

Executive Director Catherine Mueller of the Senior Citizens Service Center of Gloversville & Fulton County addresses the Common Council at a meeting in City Hall on Tuesday.

When Mayor Tim Hughes asked for a bottom-line figure as to what the center wants from the city, Mueller said the center needs $12,000 to stay open for the rest of the year.

The city previously funded the center to the tune of $30,000 a year, but stopped funding all together in 2003. The center did receive $1,500 from the city this year, but Mueller said that's not enough.

She said the center's mortgage payments, which are nearly $1,000 a month, are putting a lot of stress on the organization. The center has cut back its hours, cut back on employees' hours and has put off maintenance to remain open, she said.

She said while center officials would love to see the previous funding reinstated, she is not expecting that.

"Let's be realistic here. We know that's not going to happen," she said. "Helping with the mortgage would do a lot."

Officials from the Gloversville Enlarged School District also addressed the Common Council on Tuesday, asking for $11,000 in funding to run a five-week swim program and $4,362 for a summer recreation program at Park Terrace Elementary School.

The swim program is virtually identical to the program that began last year, Board of Education President Perry Paul said. The program had about 1,200 visitors last year.

The Park Terrace recreation program would include sports and games for people of all ages, not just young people, he said, and would probably run from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. during the week.

Paul said the city would be hard-pressed to provide recreation for its residents for much cheaper. He said with the infrastructure already in place at the middle school pool and at Park Terrace, it makes the most sense to have the programs there.

"The facilities are there," he said. "They just need to be utilized."

School board Vice President Pete Semione said he believes the programs are worthwhile for city residents and improve the quality of life in the area.

"We know it can be hard to find the money," he said. "But this will service a lot of people ... it's important to the community."

First Ward Councilwoman Robin Wentworth said she was impressed with both presentations and believes both are worthy of city funding. She said she anticipates discussing the issues further at the council's next session, which is scheduled for June 23.

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Ellen Anadio agreed, but said she has concerns about duplication of services. Third Ward Councilman James Robinson agreed.

Both said they were concerned the summer recreation program at Park Terrace, which Paul and Semione said would be open to seniors and have games and activities for that demographic, would overlap activities taking place at the senior center.

Kayleigh Karutis covers Gloversville news. She can be reached at gloversville@leaderherald.com

 
 

 

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