Tannery Pond Community Center in North Creek
The Tannery Pond Community Center could have a full-time, paid director by June if a plan announced at the Feb. 21 Johnsburg Town Board meeting comes to fruition.
Joel Beaudin, a member of the Tannery Pond Community Center Association, told Town Board members that the association is launching a search for a full-time director and has set a budget of $50,000 to fund the new position.
“We’ve received pledges of $30,000 toward that goal,” Beaudin said. “The campaign to raise the other $20,000 begins immediately. And I feel pretty strongly that we’ll be able to raise it.”
Ideally, Beaudin said, funding for the position for year two and beyond would come from increased revenues generated by additional events and increased attendance at the center.
The association would like the new director to start work by June 1 in advance of the center’s 10-year anniversary celebration on June 30.
Of the $30,000 already pledged, the Tannery Pond Community Center Association pledged $10,000, the North Creek Business Alliance pledged $10,000 and the railroad pledged $10,000, Beaudin said.
Town Board member Pete Olesheski asked if the association was seeking a financial contribution from the town to help fund the position.
“I haven’t even thought about that,” Beaudin said. “But if the town offered, we wouldn’t turn it down.”
Supervisor Ron Vanselow, who also sits on the Tannery Pond board, said a town contribution hadn’t been contemplated at this point in time.
The role of the new director will be to help the center reach its full potential, Beaudin said, by helping fill seats and book events for the center and assist the town in managing the facility.
With Tannery Pond positioned as the southern anchor of the North Creek business corridor, it’s important to help it succeed, Beaudin said. Tannery Pond can be a catalyst for activity throughout the hamlet and beyond, he added.
“With this at one end and the train at the other, it makes sense to tie them together,” he added. “Our goal is to have people use it and view it as a destination.”
Resident Bob Nessle said he could foresee challenges in arriving at a working relationship between the town, the new director and the association.
“I’m wondering how the relationship will work for example with scheduling,” Nessle asked. “And fees for use, who’s responsible? Who is responsible for costs? It’s a fantastic idea but it sounds like there could be a lot of problems.”
Beaudin conceded that all those issues will need to be addressed.
“We need to address them and we need to move forward with the solicitation (for donations) and we need to move forward with the search for a director,” Beaudin said. “We don’t intend to take over. It’s important to understand that. We want to help the town manage it.”
One goal of the new director would be to balance revenue with expenses, he said.
Board members seemed generally supportive of the proposal.
“This is a good opportunity to re-examine how things work,” Vanselow said. “This is a good opportunity for a symbiotic relationship between the building owner (the town) and the association and the community.”
Board member Gene Arsenault said the timing for a full-time director is right.
“This has come up before and I never thought the time was right,” Arsenault said. “But now looking at what’s going on around town and the things that are happening, now’s the time.”
Board member Arnold Stevens agreed that hiring a full-time director is a good move.
“This is a great idea and I applaud the association for pursuing it,” Stevens said.
Details about the new position will be posted on the Tannery Pond website on Saturday.
In other business:
The Town Board unanimously approved contracts with five of six volunteer fire companies — North River, Johnsburg, Bakers Mills, Garnet Lake and Riverside. Contract discussions with the Wevertown fire company are ongoing.
“There’s a letter from our attorney to Wevertown to move that discussion along,” Vanselow said.
The board authorized Vanselow to move forward with the bid process for the project to rebuild the town transfer station. The station burned to the ground last summer after being struck by lightning. The town has been working with its insurance carrier and an engineer to come up with bid specifications for the project and it is anticipated the bid packages could be ready for distribution prior to the next board meeting.
The board authorized Vanselow to proceed with legal notifications required prior to the town undertaking the cleanup of private property known as the “Denton property” on Goodman Road. The town has a court order that required the owner to cleanup an extensive collection of old tires, propane tanks and other hazardous garbage by last May. The property owner hasn’t cleaned up the property, Vanselow said, and now the town will proceed with cleanup and levy the cost of doing so against the property. Vanselow said he will look at options for getting the work done, either using town crews and resources or contracting with an independent entity to do the work.
The Johnsburg Town Board will next convene in regular session at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 6 at the Wevertown Community Center.