Categories: Schenectady County
The YMCA’s controversial plan to use $3.5 million in state grant money to add 31 additional beds to its downtown facility will be presented to the Gloversville Planning Board on Tuesday.
The project is not well received among some downtown merchants, who contend the YMCA’s current housing program for 23 residents is already detracting from the city’s revitalization efforts.
Downtown businesswoman Susan Casey, the most outspoken of the opponents, said she will attend Tuesday’s meeting and she urges others sharing her view to join her.
“To bring in 30 more homeless people into downtown is the most detrimental thing that could happen to Gloversville and the county,” she said Friday.
YMCA Executive Director Steven Serge defended the project Friday, saying it is filling a need in the community. He said YMCA officials are looking forward to working with the Planning Board. Serge has disputed claims that YMCA residents have created any problems in the business district.
Fulton County Senior Planner Sean Geraghty, consultant to the Planning Board, said customarily if the board members are satisfied with the information initially presented on a project then a public hearing is scheduled for the following month. Tuesday’s Planning Board meeting starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall.
If all goes in a timely manner with this proposal, Serge said, construction could begin late this summer after the YMCA moves its recreational programs to its new home on Harrison Street.
In November, the downtown project was awarded $3.5 million from the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. The work entails demolishing the gym and pool and building 24 new units — 10 singles each for men and women and four family units for single mothers. Additional parking will also be created on the site.
The Fulton County Chamber of Commerce & Industry, which is located next door to the YMCA and which represents many of the downtown merchants, has not taken a position on the project.
Chamber President Wally Hart said Friday that there are members on both sides of the debate and he expects the issues will be discussed at a future board meeting.
“It’s a tough call for us,” said Hart, acknowledging a lack of unity on the project.
The YMCA will need site plan approval from the Planning Board before getting a building permit to begin.