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Porter explores new options for recreation offerings

Sat, Dec 19th 2015 07:00 am

By Allison Deutschman

In response to last week's Youngstown Village Board meeting, where discussion of allowing the Town of Porter to use the Red Brick School Village Center for karate and a self-defense course was tabled due to lack of monetary consideration, the Town of Porter Recreation Department is now looking into alternative options and locations for these services.

At the Porter Town Board meeting Monday night, Recreation Director Kathy Zasucha told councilmen she could not get approval from Wilson Central Schools to use the now-closed Stevenson Elementary School due to concerns about opening and closing times, heat and water use, snow plowing, parking, etc.

Councilman Tom Baia, also a former Lewiston-Porter Board of Education member, recommended contacting Lew-Port about utilizing an available gym there.

Town residents and board members alike began offering suggestions of alternative sites for Recreation Department sessions, including utilizing the Town Hall conference room where board meetings are held.

"We'll move the chairs out of here, what's wrong with that?" Councilman Jeff Baker asked.

Utilizing Town Hall would require changing the current yoga and tai chi class schedule to work around court and pre-planned Zoning, Planning and Town Board meetings, possibly only leaving Thursday and Friday nights as options.

Acquiring a vacant house was another option presented, but, due to legal issues, this could prove very difficult, board members said.

Town grant writer Bernie Rotella discussed an available grant that could provide the town matching funding for up to 30 percent of capital improvements, including the cost for construction of a new building costing more $50,000. Initially, Rotella presented this as a funding idea for an alternative town court site, but now faced with a lack of location for Recreation Department activities, that is being reconsidered.

The board asked Rotella to submit plans for a 100-by-150-square-foot building at Porter on the Lake Town Park.

"We have no place to go 10 months of the year," Zasucha said. Only the children's summer program at Stevenson Elementary exists.

"I think residents need to attend the next (Youngstown Board) meeting, because this article was a shock to us," Councilman Joe Fleckenstein said.

The next Youngstown Village Board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 7.

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