Without additional funding, the future of the Westside Senior & Community Center in Utica may be in jeopardy.
In efforts to cut costs, the Center is now only open two days a week, and the Advisor for the center says something needs to be right away before it’s too late.
Mark Wolber, who serves as legal counsel for the Center says, “What we would hope is that there might be another organization that may be able to come in and work in the center, and would not interfere with the center’s activities with the seniors, either work at different times or work together and share some of the expenses.”
However a possible partnership with the Kelberman center was rejected earlier this year by Board President Barbara Mickler. Without an Executive Director or active members, Wolber says assistance programs from the outside aren’t easy to find.
“Many of the organizations that offer grants and these are private grants and not run through the government are willing to help and willing to fund, but you do have to make the initiative you do have to go online for the most part, find the organization, find the grants that are available, and then make that application.”
Without direct dialog between center and the City of Utica, that assistance in the form of city grants may not be available, but Wolber says there is still hope if both sit down face to face.
“This is not something where anyone should be fighting with each other or disagreeing with each other, it situation where people need to put their heads together, and their hearts together, and realize that we have senior citizens in this community and theres a need to provide the center for those citizens, and what is it that we can do to keep this going? And that’s what important.”
City staff are meeting with Center officials on February 11th to discuss what grant money may still be available, and what options there are with regard to other organizations using the facility.