Greenman Senior Center One Step Closer to Sale, and Re-Opening
3/4/2013 (Updated 3/5/2013 8:37:04 AM)(Source: Kate Thornton)
If Binghamton City Council rejected the proposal to sell the Greenman Senior Center at Monday night's worksession meeting, Executive Director of Opportunities for Broome, Mark Silvanic, planned on withdrawing his offer to buy the center.
"I told them this is it," said Silvanic.
Shortly after Silvanic left the meeting, the council discussed and four members, Terri Rennia, Lea Webb, Jerry Motsavage and Joseph Mihalko signed the request for legislation that would set the stage for a vote to sell the center for $75,000.
"Opportunities for Broome would like to take the senior center and turn it into a training program where we produce contracted meals. It's a social enterprise operation, it's a self funding non-for-profit program meaning it would cost the tax payers nothing," said Silvanic.
This proposal was heavily supported by Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan. Ryan said this would save the city a million dollars over a 5 year period.
The Greenman Center was forced to shut down in the Fall of 2011 when its 40-year old heating and cooling system collapsed. The cost of repairs were estimated at up to $250,000 with no funding source available.
While those members who signed off on the ordinance felt this proposal is a win-win. Others like Councilman Papastrat felt more could be done to reopen the center like talking more with the county about shared services, or have a Realtor try to sell it. According to Tarik Abdelazim, the property is assessed at $400,000. Papastrat said the tax payers should "have a shot at money for a private developer to make an offer".
But, Council President Rennia said there has already been conversations with the county, and the county has indicated they are not interested.
"Even if the county were to come over tomorrow and say, ok, 'We're interested, we'll pay half your staffing costs, if you pay to fix this bulding.' We're talking about $150,000 minimum for this one repairs... So if they're going to pay half our staffing costs, we're still going to have to come up with all those other costs that we have to absorb on a yearly basis," said Rennia. "If you want to protect tax payer dollars, that's not it."
The proposal also states the the proceeds from the sale will go to the capital line for the First Ward Senior Center.
A public hearing will be held Wednesday March 20th, and then the council will vote at their next meeting on April 3rd. A super majority vote is need to pass.
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