Youth Center Effort Hits Roadblock

Youth Center effort hits stumbling block

A misunderstanding and an unanticipated fire sprinkler system expense has caused a snag in the creation of a Granville youth center, one that could take weeks and thousands of dollars to resolve, organizers said Sunday.

Dave Williams, Granville Police Benevolent Association president and village police sergeant, said the youth center effort will go forward despite the issue; it will just take longer to open the doors.

“Oh absolutely, yes, it will definitely go on; this is going to happen,” Williams said. “This has delayed our opening and now we’re hoping it can be around roughly October 30,” he said.

Confusion over the expected occupancy at the youth center caused Washington County code enforcement officials to initially give the project the “all clear” but they later changed their tune, he said.

The misunderstanding came about when code officials did not realize the PBA dances were much more heavily attended than the anticipated after-school crowd – dances sometimes see more than 200 youths, he said.

During his initial discussions with the code enforcement officials, Williams said, he was told the building would not need to be equipped with a fire sprinkler system due to its expected capacity. Although he explained he was unsure of the number, Williams said, he threw 75 out as a guess.

When they met, Williams said, the discussions centered on the after-school program the PBA has planned for the space and the number of youths he guessed would be in the building at that time.

The “magic number” as it turns out was 99; occupancy over that number meant sprinklers and under meant none.

Since finding out the sprinkler system was required, much of the work inside has come to a standstill. Williams said PBA members have been working the phones in an effort to generate quotes for the work.

Sprinkler system companies are apparently quite busy so just getting a quote caused a delay of about two weeks; Williams said he finally had to call on his brother who installs sprinkler systems near Boston.

The news was not good.

The sprinkler system appropriate for the size of the building would cost from $10,000 to $15,000 — money the PBA had not planned to spend on the building.

Williams said the PBA is convinced the youth center will be a viable business despite the budget-busting unexpected expense. The PBA will move forward with the effort in hopes it can raise money for much of the sprinkler bill.

Williams said the PBA plans to continue raising funds with the Hook & Ladder Fire Company as well as appealing for assistance with paying for the work in hopes of getting it done faster.

“We’re going to raise funds; we’re looking for support including donations or naming rights – we’re open to suggestions,” Williams said. “We would welcome any community support.”

The PBA has already received support from random residents in the form of donations, volunteered time and materials, including gifts of pool tables, a table hockey game, refrigerators and a freezer.

Many people have expressed support for the effort and volunteered their support. Williams said architect Mark R. McManus from Middletown Springs, Vt., helped the PBA out with a set of needed drawings because he belonged to the same fire company as Granville officer Joe Castle.

“It will just take more time if we have to come up with all of the money,” Williams said. “If it weren’t for the sprinkler system, we’d be open already.”

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