It was a lively night Thursday at the as about 100 folks gathered under a tent, drank, chatted with celebrity emcee Storm Fields (former weatherman, loyal JCC supporter and member, and Irvington resident), and toured the adjacent empty building where demo work will soon begin.
As they took tours of the space to foresee what's coming, guests were invited to write with markers in a hallway of the space to be partially demolished. Part of the structure will remain and what is now a rectangle will morph into an L-shape, care of a design by Hastings' firm Peter Gisolfi Associates.
Our local JCC has a long history of movement and expansion, starting decades ago in Yonkers, moving to a storefront in Ardsley, and then finally landing in Tarrytown about 17 years ago. After purchasing the next door property in April 2009, it took several more years for the to get all the permits necessary to be where they are now: just four to six weeks away from demo work, groundbreaking in the Fall, a new JCC slated for completion as soon as June 2014.
Having a second space will allow the JCC to focus and expand, said Executive Director Frank Hassid. The existing building will house extensive programming for early childcare, special needs children, afterschool programs, and more. The new structure will be dedicated mostly to adult-oriented activities.
The new building will house two pools, a gymnasium, a performance arts space, cafe, mind-body space, and “plenty of little spaces to sit and talk,” said PR Director Danielle McAuley. She stressed the center's nonsectarianism and that all are welcome. “It's really going to bring everyone together. Offering a whole host of activities. There's nothing like it around.”
"A rich resource to the community," added Hassid, saying the center is a "perfect use of the property."
The grounds themselves will feature green spaces, a ball fields, cement benches and perhaps even cement checker tables.
The JCC has been lucky to enjoy great community support along the way both in donorship (about $5 million secured so far toward the $12 million project) and in general approval. While making through the phases of the Planning Board can be treacherous, Hassid said they've had it good. “Our neighbors have always been enthusiastic in their support for us and we've been very respectful of their wishes. Almost from the beginning, our immediate neighbors, the residents, the Village, all have been supportive.”
Last night's event was considered more of a “cultivation," said Hassid, than a fundraiser. But more funds need to come. The JCC hopes to continue accruing both community good will and those ever-necessary financial pledges to decrease the loans they'll need on their still-sizable remaining balance.
Click here to donate to the Capital Campaign toward the new JCC or find out more.