Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Senior Moment

Next Tuesday, it seems, the Common Council will decide which course to take with the senior center: constructing a new building next to the Youth Center or accepting the offer from the Galvan Initiatives Foundation and moving the senior center into the Armory, a.k.a. the Galvan Community Learning Center.

The first alternative seems beset with problems. They haven't rebid the project since the architect and the engineer pared it back, so there is no guarantee that it can be built for the $1,080,000 that the City has to spend on it. Also, as late as Monday, there was still no answer from the Office of Housing and Community Development on whether or not the City can get an extension on the $400,000 grant that constitutes the biggest part of the budget.

The second alternative is to accept the offer from the Galvan Initiatives Foundation and locate the senior center on the second floor of the officers' hall of the Armory. Galvan presented the Council with an MOU (memorandum of understanding) outlining what is proposed. Galvan will lease the space--which turns out to be 3,300 square feet not 2,700 square feet--to the City for $12 a year. Galvan will finance the development, including the build out of the space. (Shelves for balance balls were mentioned.) The City's responsibility as tenant will be utilities (for that portion of the building), maintenance and repair, insurance and liability.

Daniel Kent, executive director of the Galvan Initiatives Foundation, who was present at the informal Common Council meeting on Monday, assured the Council that the project "would proceed on its own timeline." Work would begin in October 2013 to be completed in June 2014. Vincent Benic Architect, the firm Galvan is working with to develop the drill hall for the Hudson Area Library, will also be designing the space for the seniors.

Although Kent declared that development of the senior center would be "completely and unalterably underwritten by Galvan," Alderman Cappy Pierro (Fifth Ward) wanted to know if the $400,000 in CDBG money couldn't be "switched over" to the Armory. (Common Council president Don Moore told him the City "hadn't been told absolutely, but it certainly seemed unlikely.") Mayor William Hallenbeck said that he "would like to think that the HCDPA and HRBT funding [$100,000 and $150,000 respectively] is still available and that could go to the Armory." Nothing has been revealed about the anticipated cost of developing the second floor of the officers' hall as a senior center. 

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