About the Gouverneur Community Center
Community Center Board
Top and Left, Village Mayor, Ron McDougall, David Spilman Jr., Roxann Finley, Town Supervisor, Bob Ritchie, Deputy Town Supervisor Eldon B. Conklin, Donna Lawrence, Rick Wood, Barbara Finnie
Watertown Daily Times by Susan Mende, Times Staff Writer,
Friday, March 27, 2015 at 12:30 AM
“This has been talked about for at least three decades,” village Mayor Ronald P. McDougall said. “We’re pretty happy about it.”
The 6,900-square-foot Gouverneur Community Center will be built on village-owned property on Route 58 in Riverside Park next to the baseball and softball fields. Parking is already available there. It’s also next to Pine Grove Housing and across from Mills Park.
The structure was designed by architect Brooks Washburn, Gouverneur, and will include a kitchen, a media center/ auditorium, a large meeting room, two or three smaller rooms, a lounge and restrooms.
Gouverneur Town Supervisor Robert R. Ritchie said he’s glad the project is a joint venture with the village. Besides the school, he said, the community has few available venues for holding events. “I think it’s a project we’ve needed for many years,” Mr. Ritchie said. “It’s like a dream come true. I’m 100 percent for it.”
The village plans to request bid proposals for the construction work, with hopes of breaking ground in mid-May. The goal is to complete the project by the end of the year.
The center will be paid for with two Community Development Block Grants: one for $600,000 awarded to the village and one for $400,000 received by the town. Some donations also have been received, including a contribution from the Gouverneur Lions Club. The project has 501-C3 tax-exempt status, so donations are tax-exempt.
Mr. McDougall said officials are hoping the bids do not exceed $1 million.
The facility will be available for senior citizen activities and other community gatherings. It also can be rented out for events such as class reunions, wedding receptions, private parties, dances and other events.
A new seven-member board created to oversee the facility includes Mr. McDougall, Deputy Mayor Charles W. Newvine, Mr. Ritchie, Deputy Town Supervisor Eldon B. Conklin, and community members Donna Lawrence, David Spilman Jr. and Michael Porter.
The village plans to retain its recreation center at Clinton Street and Trinity Avenue, which offers before- and after-school programs for youths and other activities.
On a recent visit home to Gouverneur, Kay Van Norton Poche (left), now of Sydney, Australia and Gouverneur Community Center board member Donna Lawrence showed off the new Smart Board in the Howard Van Norton Media Room that was made possible by the generous donation made by the Van Norton family to the new center located on State Highway 58. (Wyman photo)
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has secured $100,000 in special funding to help Gouverneur finish work on a new community center that will be used for community events, private functions and more.
A project spearheaded by Village and Town officials, the new Gouverneur Community Center will feature meeting and event rooms, a place for computer activities, a kitchen, fireside lounge and more.
“When it comes to building strong communities, facilities like the new Gouverneur Community Center are key,” said Senator Ritchie.
“This building will provide local residents with a place to gather for events, meetings and so much more. The project is a great example of a Village and Town working together to create something that enhances the local community, and I’m pleased to support this new center.”
“For decades, we have worked to make our dream of building a community center in Gouverneur a reality,” said Village Mayor Ron McDougall.
“From hosting community sponsored events to being rented out for private functions, this new center will truly meet the needs of local residents. We can’t thank Senator Ritchie enough for recognizing this need in our community and for her willingness to help us make this important project possible.”