Recorder News Staff
During a short Amsterdam Common Council meeting in City Hall Tuesday, lawmakers were able to get a more complete update of all the action at the former Clara S. Bacon school, now a city recreation center.
The council heard from local residents T.J. Czeski and John Sumpter, who together with a few other members of the community have headed up the efforts at the building under the organization name, Wishful Thinking.
Czeski told the council that the group has been working over the past few months "to bring light back" to the Bacon building.
Recreation basketball games have been accompanied by a high school recreation basketball league, and the group has organized workouts for students age 9 through 17.
"There is nothing sweeter and more endearing than the laughter, honesty, compassion of a child," Czeski said. "I cherish the time and am thankful for the opportunity to work with the youth on Sunday mornings along with being an integral part of their growth and lives."
Czeski added that the new Creative Connections Arts center will be a "great addition to the community."
"The arts center will help to shape lives," he said.
Czeski explained to the council that the recreation center is in need of updates, like a refinished floor, proper lighting and other improvements.
The group plans to do their fair share of fundraising for the center, he said.
After Czeski finished, Sumpter took the podium briefly and told the council that he wants to make sure the community can work together "and make something happen."
"We have kids who believe in us and we believe in them."
Following their comments, 1st Ward Alderman Joseph Isabel told the council that a few weeks back a young man came to his back porch asking about shoveling and posed to Isabel if he is one of the people who sits on the council who is responsible for funding.
"He said, 'I want to thank the council and mayor for doing this for us,'" Isabel relayed to his fellow council members. "It just felt good after all the complaints that we get."
The Wishful Thinking group has already received a extensive amount of donations from the community for, what they have named, the Neena Rao Recreation Center.
As the meeting continued, the Common Council passed a resolution to amend the recreation budget to increase the revenue by $6,205, from donations and gifts received from the community.
On Monday, Isabel will hold a meeting for 1st Ward residents at the Bacon building on Henrietta Boulevard at 7 p.m.
Recreation Director Robert Spagnola will be present to answer questions and give a tour of the facility and residents are welcome to bring their concerns and questions about city programs, budgets, codes, and more.
All interested city residents are welcome to attend.