LIVONIA — The Little Lakes Sustainability Network is asking the Livonia Town Board to extend the life of the Jack Evans Community Center in Hemlock, and a community meeting is set to gather ideas for possible uses before the building is put up as surplus.
According to the Little Lakes Sustainability Network, a group of about 35 individuals attended the board meeting on Feb. 4 to speak their minds about the planned closing and “putting up for surplus” of the community center, formerly Hemlock School.
The Town of Livonia extended the final decision to put the building up for surplus until Nov. 1, 2016 pending a “Viable Plan of Use” in response to the Sustainability Network’s requests. These requests included additional time to form a Volunteer Citizen Committee, which would be tasked with two jobs: surveying residents to assist in operating the Jack Evans Community Center as well as researching possible grants to cut costs for the building.
Town Supervisor Eric Gott stressed during the meeting by that costs needed to be cut in order to maintain the building.
The community meeting to gather suggestions for alternative use will be on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Jack Evans Community Center at 4705 South Main Street in Hemlock.
The Little Lakes Sustainability Network submitted the following letter to the town board and later the GeneseeSun.com for publication.
The following is a letter addressed to the Livonia Town Board from Tawn R. Feeney, head of the Little Lakes Sustainability Network . The attitudes and ideas expressed below should not be interpreted as the opinion of the GeneseeSun.com.
Supervisor Gott and Livonia Town Board:
I am here as a representative of the Little Lakes Sustainability Network to ask you to consider postponing the closure of the Jack Evans Community Center, the former Hemlock school. Little Lakes Sustainability Network is a small grassroots organization whose mission is to create awareness of local resources and to promote action towards healthy sustainable communities. Part of our mission is to focus on the value of local resources to improve the quality of life for all of our neighbors. That means many things, from eating locally grown food, to patronizing our hometown businesses, and to enjoying the opportunities for education and recreation in our nearby environment. It can also mean preserving what is good and still serviceable, and can benefit our citizens through new uses. We believe that preserving the Jack Evans Community Center meets all of these goals. It is a solid building that could be transformed into a new and very valuable resource for the education and recreation of our community, that would add new life to the once thriving hamlet of Hemlock, and could also bring many visitors to the area. There is a long list of possible new uses for the building, such as an educational center where folks could learn new skills, such as weaving or playing the banjo, or after school recreation for our youth. We believe that one possible use stands out: a state-sponsored visitor center that could be the “anchor business” of the center. New York State is eager to attract more visitors to the Finger Lakes. Many visitors skip the “little lakes” of Honeoye, Canadice, Hemlock and Conesus, because they are not publicized as much as those lakes on the wine trails. But not everyone is into wine! Some of us prefer to hike, kayak, canoe, sail and fish! Hemlock and Canadice are the jewels of the Finger Lakes for their natural environment and deserve a dedicated visitor center. The Jack Evans Community Center is the perfect opportunity!
Please give us the time to pursue this avenue and others, and to obtain local citizen input on what should happen to their center.