The Village of Walden has long hoped for a community center it can call its own, and the project is on the verge of coming to fruition after the municipality recently secured $370,000 in SAM (System for Award Management) grant funding from State Senator James Skoufis. Walden Village Manager John Revella told the Village Board during its meeting on Sept. 3 that the new round of funding, when combined with the $300,000 in SAM money that was obtained last year by recently deceased State Senator William Larkin, should be in the ballpark to fully finance a new community center in James W. Olley Park.
The village has been working on securing the funding for nearly a decade for the planned center. “We started talking about it in 2011 when we were doing the comprehensive plan,” Revella said. “So in 2011 and 2012 we really put the plan together. We’ve applied for CFA (Consolidated Funding Application) funds a couple of times when that started coming out. Before that we applied for a parks grant from the state to try to help fund it. We’ve been denied each time. So these past two years, we’ve gotten a grant from each subsequent senator that totals up to what we really need.”
If built, the community center would give the village an established spot for residents and organizations to host meetings and to hold events for decades to come. “The idea of the project has been going on for years and Senator Larkin was the first person to give us money towards the project and Senator Skoufis has followed through with funding of his own,” Walden Mayor Susan Rumbold said. “We’re the largest village in the Town of Montgomery, and the only one that doesn’t have a community center where people can gather. For instance, our senior citizens utilize the firehouse in Walden for their meetings and gatherings. It’ll be nice for them to have someplace to go, as well as the children during our summer program if there’s inclement weather. If they have to leave the park, there’ll be somewhere that they can go and still continue the projects that they do during the summer program. I think it’s important for each community to have someplace where people can gather and get together and enjoy different projects and events. It’ll be great for the village to have that.”
The village has a fleshed-out concept for the community center, but the exact site design still needs to be finalized in the coming weeks and months by the village engineer. “Now that we have the funding, we’ll determine that we’re going forward with the project so that they can make the actual material lists, schematics, detailed drawings, so that we know exactly what we’ll be building,” Revella said. The current timetable is to begin building the center in the spring of 2020 if all goes according to plan. “We won’t be allowed to start until the spring because the funding is not available until then,” Revella noted.
The sidewalk repair project on Ulster Avenue began on Sept. 3 in the village, and the expected timeline for the completion of the construction is three to four months, which puts the end date of the roadwork in danger of being pushed into the spring if it’s not done before the winter.
Revella said that the project’s contractor is working to secure the manpower to finish the project before the onset of winter, but the finish line could be pushed into next year. “That could happen based on the weather, because if they’re starting now, three to four months is January,” he explained. “So it could be a problem. They’re going to go as fast as they can. If they can make it they will, or they might have to wait, because DOT (Department of Transportation) won’t allow them to work past a certain temperature.”