July 20, 2013
Center excited about new digs
Community center, Cultural Council may share train station
Displaced in 2010 and dissolved in April, the former East End Community Center has struggled in recent years.
With the hope of a new location, the outlook for the group has taken a turn for the better.
A proposed lease agreement between the city and the Cultural Council of Cortland County would make space available to the center, now operating as the Cortland Community Group.
They would share space in the former New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway train depot on Central Avenue, which the community group tried to lease in April.
On Tuesday, the Common Council approved the lease agreement that would make the city the middleman between the railroad and the Cultural Council.
The Cultural Council’s board of directors plans vote on the lease agreement Thursday.
The Community Group has a proposed arrangement with the Cultural Council that would make the space available to it, something that has the group’s former chairman Richard Stock elated.
“The excitement hasn’t worn off,” Stock said.
The group has continued to operate since dissolving in April after failing to lease the railroad space, but had mostly been looking at different possible locations.
It has not operated from a stable location since terminating its lease on an Elm Street property in 2010.
Stock said he had not expected to have the opportunity to use the train terminal again.
“Without a home, we couldn’t carry out the programs we wanted to,” Stock said.
While operating as the East End Community Center, the group offered a variety of programs, including historical preservation, introductory computer lessons and free English as a second language classes.
“Obviously we want to go back to things we did before,” Stock said. “We want to incorporate new programs, as well.”
Ideas that the group has discussed for new programs include advice for saving money on vacations and creating coin collections.
Mayor Brian Tobin said the community group will meet with the Cultural Council to determine a schedule that works for both groups.
“It’s been nice to help them out and tie up a loose end,” said Tobin, referring to the unexpected dissolution of the Cortland Community Group.
After the Cultural Council signs the lease, it is expected to use the space to display artwork and host different programs, like painting classes.
With a location secure, Stock says the group’s financial situation is stable. The community group relies on fundraising from community cookbook and calendar sales. The time and supplies for most of the group’s projects are donated.
Stock says that the group plans to seek 501(c)(3) nonprofit designation and will be submitting its application soon.
The East End Community Center was founded in 2005 with a $75,000 state grant. The group operated from the former Durkee Bakery building on Elm Street but was forced to move when it could no longer afford the rent.
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