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Town of Hamburg's recreation, senior offices to move into one facility

Martin C. Denecke, director of recreation, senior and youth services for the Town of Hamburg, talks about a 10-year lease reached between the town and the Frontier Central School District which will allow the town’s recreation department, senior services and adult daycare facility to move into the current Frontier Community Educational Center on Southwestern Boulevard.
The Town of Hamburg was in need of a new facility for its Adult Daycare Program. The Frontier Central School District was looking for a new tenant for the Frontier Community Educational Center on Southwestern Boulevard after learning that BOCES would be vacating at the end of the school year.

What transpired was an announcement on Wednesday, May 1, that the Town of Hamburg and the Frontier Central School District had reached an agreement which will lead to the Adult Daycare program – along with the Recreation Department and Senior Services – moving its operations into the building, which was built in 2002.

After learning that BOCES was vacating, Frontier Superintendent James C. Bodziak reached out to Hamburg Town Supervisor Steven J. Walters after reading that the town was looking for a new location for the day care. The Hamburg Town Board discussed its future during a work session on Feb. 11, at which time Walters, along with Councilmembers Amy Ziegler and Joseph Collins all agreed that the program had outgrown the facility, which is located at Pleasant Avenue and Haviland Place.

“It’s a unique collaboration with the Frontier Central School District and the Town of Hamburg,” Bodziak said, adding that both the school district and the town were facing some major challenges and this agreement, in which the town will lease the space for 10 years, will be a win-win for both parties.

“It’s a great day for the senior population,” Walters said.

He admitted that when Bodziak first approached him with the idea, he was a bit “skeptical,” but quickly realized that this was the ideal location to move its recreation, senior and adult daycare facilities.

“This was a great opportunity for the town,” Walters said.

The town will assume control of the facility around July 1, when BOCES moves out. The Southtowns Teacher’s Center is also located there and will also be vacating.

“We’ve got some work to do in the building,” Walters said.

As part of the agreement, the town has agreed to a 10-year lease with a nine-year option. Frontier will continue to own the building and the town will pay the yearly bond payment, which Walters said will range between about $50,000 to $55,000. The supervisor said the figure will change annually as interest rates fluctuate. The town will also be responsible to pay utilities, maintenance and insurance for the property.

From this point, the town will begin working on specific plans on how it will update the facility to fit what the town needs.

At this time, the supervisor noted there is not a specific time frame in which it will be open yet, but his early goal is for it to be in operation by Jan. 1, 2014 – if not sooner, Walters said.

As part of the planning process, Walters said the town will be reaching out to its seniors to gather ideas on what they would like to see offered to them inside of the building.

“We want to hear from you folks.” Walters told to a group of seniors who were in attendance at the press conference.

Once the project is completed, Walters said the Recreation offices will move from the Nike Base, the town will sell the current Adult Daycare building and the town will move its senior services from the People, Inc., run Iris Housing on Sowles Road. The Youth Department will also be vacating Woodlawn Beach when the new facility is ready.

As for the current recreation offices, there are still decisions on what the town will do with it. He said what has been discussed so far is seeing whether recreation still has use for the building, and also, he said the Buildings and Grounds Department has need for additional space and expressed interest in using it.

“We’re going to find some use for that building,” Walters said.

Walters said the one aspect that the town will need to work out is whether seniors will still be able to use the therapeutic pool at the Sowles Road building.

Janet MacGregor Plarr, president of the Frontier Central School Board, said the board is happy with the agreement.

“Today really is a great day for the Frontier School District and the board of edication,” Plarr said, adding she believes this will be another great collaboration between the district and the town.

The building was built in 2002 with the intent of helping provide an education. Although the use will be different, she believes some of those same core ideas remain.

“We’re just changing our age group a little bit,” Plarr said.

Ziegler believes this agreement will greatly benefit the town, the school districts and the residents.

“This couldn’t be a happier day for us,” Ziegler said. “There are seniors that deserve our care and deserve our attention.”

Martin C. Denecke, director of Hamburg Recreation, Senior and Youth Services, believes this will address both parties immediate needs and help his department long-term.

“I have feelings of joy and professional pride,” Denecke said.

He believes this facility will allow his departments to expand and improve the overall operations.

“The staff of the department share in my excitement,” Denecke said.

Once complete, Denecke sees the building open seven days a week, 12 hours a day.

Denecke commended Bodziak and Walters for their ability to “expedite the process” and help make this become a reality sooner than later.

“Our thanks to all those who made this happen,” Denecke said.

Town Councilman Joseph Collins, who joked that he is speaking as a member of the senior population, was in full support of the project.

“The senior services is nice, but its small,” Collins said. “I’m on board. I’m happy to be part of it.”

Walters added the timing was a “perfect storm” between the town and the district. BOCES was pulling out because it was losing population, while the towns recreation, youth and senior services, as well as its adult daycare program, are all growing.
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