Schenectady County

Schenectady residents rally for Carver Center

What will happen to the former Carver Community Center?
The overgrown Carver Community Center playground is pictured on Wednesday.
The overgrown Carver Community Center playground is pictured on Wednesday.

What will happen to the former Carver Community Center?

The answer to that question should come into greater focus Saturday morning at the bankruptcy auction of the site. But several Hamilton Hill residents are trying to show support for the center by making a last-minute, long-shot effort to raise money to help purchase the building and have it reopen as a community center.

City Councilwoman Marion Porterfield, who is helping organize the fundraising effort, said Thursday that several organizations are continuing with their interest in the site, but they didn’t want to be publicly identified prior to the auction.

Absent being able to purchase the building, the residents want to show support for a community center in a neighborhood that has been without Carver since it closed abruptly in late 2013.

“Our youth need our investment and our neighborhood needs our investment,” the fundraising appeal on titled “The 48 hour Miracle!” reads in part. “We need to show visible proof and commitment that we have not given up on them.”

Taking part in the effort is William Rivas. Rivas is director of Community Fathers and the Altamont Program. Rivas counts himself as among the many positives that came out of the old Carver center. He credits it and its programs with setting him back on the right path as a youth.

“For a long time Hamilton Hill has had a bad rap,” Rivas said. “We just want the opportunity to show that good people can come together to do positive things.”

The auction is set for 11 a.m. Saturday in front of the center at 700 Craig St. A minimum bid of $150,000 is being asked. Beyond that, repairs are needed.

The auction includes the community center at 700 Craig St., a two-family home at 201 Duane Ave. and parcels of land at 702 Craig St., 605 Craig St. and 215 Duane Ave.

The center was a neighborhood gathering place that housed a unique list of programs, including a day-care center and a county library branch.

It also had after-school programs, taught children to avoid drugs and alcohol, and provided counseling services.

In its backyard was a playground.

The playground still has a colorful “Welcome” sign, but no one has been welcome for some time. It remained locked up this week and overgrown with weeds.

The fundraising effort, which began Thursday, showed $900 in donations by Thursday evening from nine individuals. It had been shared at that point 242 times.

If the money raised doesn’t go to purchasing the site, Porterfield said it will go toward the ongoing effort to get a community center for the neighborhood, if not at Carver then somewhere else.

“The community definitely needs a community center,” Porterfield said. “It needs a gathering place for families, not just children, not just adults. We don’t have that.”

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