Schenectady poised to hand over Carver Center

Nonprofit to take ownership of Craig Street building
Carver Community Center is pictured in 2017.
Carver Community Center is pictured in 2017.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

SCHENECTADY — The city is poised to hand over a mothballed community center in the city’s Hamilton Hill neighborhood to a non-profit seeking its resurrection. 

The City Council’s Government Operations Committee on Monday agreed to deed the Carver Center building at 700 Craig St. to the organization, Miracle on Craig Street, with a two-year reverter clause that would return the building to city ownership if the non-profit group fails to complete their rehabilitation of the structure. 

“Our intention, regardless of the length of time, is to update [the City] Council regularly,” said Travon T. Jackson, a consultant advising the nonprofit. 

The full City Council will vote on the resolution next week.

The nonprofit asked lawmakers last month to grant them site control of the building. 

While Miracle had a key and could access the structure, the group contended the lack of full control hampered their ability to secure the final portions of financing required to reopen the facility, as well as show the venue to potential private tenants. 

Miracle estimates a full rehabilitation of the structure would cost $1.5 million and take three years.

Organizers estimated the first phase of renovations will cost $345,000. 

Repairs include replacing the boiler along with installing a commercial ventilation system and completing work on plumbing and electrical systems.

Jackson told lawmakers one year would be sufficient for base improvements and to reopen the building, which closed in 2013 due to financial problems. 

The City Council had previously given Miracle until Sept. 30 to demonstrate it has the financial resources to bring the building up to code; the group said those conditions have been met.

Miracle aims to use revolving lines of credit to borrow $311,717 during the first year for capital costs.

The city obtained $150,000 in federal Community Development Block Grants last summer, and the Metroplex Development Authority has said it intends on committing $150,000 pending board approval. The William Gundry Foundation will contribute $25,000.

The $300,000 in matching grants requires the nonprofit to generate that same amount. 

Miracle intends to reopen the center as a neighborhood hub, providing community programming alongside study areas, athletic space, kitchen access and other charitable services.

City Council President Ed Kosiur said the city, which must issue work permits for the upgrades, will check in on the group’s progress as it works on the building. 

“As [City] Council members, we really want this to be a successful project,” Kosiur said.

Miracle estimates $122,285 in estimated annual revenues between 2020 and 2023, including proceeds from hosting special events, membership dues and rental income.

Four businesses have expressed interest in becoming anchor tenants, the group’s executive director told lawmakers last month, including a juice bar and childcare provider.

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