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Gouverneur community center is possible

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GOUVERNEUR — A community center could be in Gouverneur’s future if people can agree on how it would be run and maintained once built.

Residents have talked about the need for a community center for years.

In the 1990s and again in 2005, plans for a multipurpose building were shelved when the village was wary of guaranteeing financial assistance for operation and maintenance.

The time has come again for the community to consider the proposal.

“After 30 years, I can tell you we can get you a community center,” said Philip A. Smith, whose company, Avalon Associates, writes grant applications for the village. “We can build it. I’m not saying we can run it.”

The village Board of Trustees on Tuesday appointed a committee that will discuss where to site the center and make recommendations on how it would be run and maintained if it were built.

Committee members are Chairman David L. Spilman Jr., Recreation Director Casey T. Canell, Gouverneur Central School Superintendent Lauren F. French, retiring Gouverneur Reading Room Association Director Charlotte J. Garofalo, town bookkeeper Gary C. Higgins, St. James School Principal J. Kyle Jacobs and Gouverneur Area Development Corp. President C. Korleen Spilman.

Mr. Canell said a community center in a central location would help expand the recreation program.

“It would meet all of the needs from toddlers to senior citizens,” he said. “I’m very hopeful.”

The committee is expected to make its report by next spring. If agreement is reached, a center might be possible by 2015, Mr. Smith said.

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