June 24, 2010


Dwyer pavilion fix depends on $400K grant

County to apply for state money that would require $130,000 local contribution

DwyerJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Visitors use the wading pool at Dwyer Memorial County Park Wednesday near the Main Pavilion on Little York Lake.

Staff Reporter

Cortland County legislators at a special Highway Committee meeting Wednesday endorsed a plan to apply for a $400,000 state grant that would fund structural repairs and painting of the Dwyer Park Pavilion at Little York Lake.
The county’s share of the approximately $530,000 project would be about $130,000, and the work would restore the building’s historic integrity and make it safer.
The grant could be phased over three years, spreading out the cost.
The vote was 4-3 in favor of retaining Cortland-based Thoma Development Consultants to apply for the grant at a cost of $3,000.
Legislators John Troy (D-1st Ward), Kathie Arnold (D-Cuyler, Solon and Truxton), Susan Briggs (R-Cortlandville), and Dave Fuller (R-Cincinnatus, Freetown, Taylor and Willet) were in favor. Legislators Newell Willcox (R-Homer), Jennifer Gofkowski (D-Homer) and Danny Ross (R-Cortlandville) were absent so their votes count as a no.
The full Legislature will vote on hiring Thoma to apply for the grant at tonight’s session.
The grant, offered annually by the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, funds historic preservation projects such as what is needed at the pavilion, Thoma Development Consultants owner Bernie Thoma said at the meeting. The state would consider the building’s use, which the Cortland Repertory Theatre rents to put on seasonal productions, as well as any safety threats that exist.
After the grant is applied for it could take up to nine months before the county hears if it is awarded, Thoma said. The state could award less than the $400,000.
Actual construction costs would be $470,000, according to an estimate, with administrative costs such as construction supervision and architectural and engineering design work, making up the difference.
At the May 27 Legislative session, legislators authorized the Syracuse-based architectural firm Crawford and Stearns to assess the site, recommend improvements, and provide cost estimates for the work.
The firm’s subsequent report breaks the work into three categories: high priority, moderate priority and lower priority. The $530,000 project costs include all seven of the high priority items, two of the moderate priority items and none of the lower priority recommendations.
The high priority items, according to the firm, include repairing a brick chimney which is leaking and needs to be capped, reconstructing exterior porches and stairways to be more in keeping with the building’s historic features, replacing the building’s first floor concrete steps, repairing the roof and structural framing and theater exits, and replacing outdated electrical wiring and lighting.
The two moderate priority items the legislators also want to include are renovating the wheelchair access ramp and repainting the building.
Legislators have been seeking a way to fund the painting of the pavilion since last year when they rejected an $80,000 bid for the work.
Fuller said if the grant is awarded, the county would have to establish a fund that would pay for the costs up front. The county would then be reimbursed for 75 percent of those costs.
The county’s $130,000 share can be reduced by work the county Highway Department workers can do themselves, such as possibly building the wheelchair ramp, capping the chimney and installing the concrete porch steps, said Fuller.
If the state awards less than the $400,000, the county would have to decide which recommendations to leave out.
“I would be pleased to see as much done as can be done,” Fuller said, noting that Crawford & Stearns’ assessment revealed a lot of things that he did not realize were needed.
Briggs said the need for electrical work, such as replacing old wiring, concerned her and she wanted it addressed by the county’s code officer immediately.
The pavilion was constructed in 1906 and opened to the public for picnics and family outings by the Cortland Traction Company. The trolley company abandoned the park in the 1930’s and the county eventually purchased the property for a public county park. In 1951, under the direction of County Highway Superintendent William Dwyer, improvements and restorations began.


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