New York State Assembly speaker Carl Heastie visits Suggett Park in Cortland

Speaker Carl Heastie (right), Assemblymember Barbara Lifton (left) and Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin (middle) at Suggett Park. (Photo provided by NY Assembly).

Yesterday, New York State Assembly speaker Carl Heastie continued his annual statewide tour in Cortland, where he met with Assemblymember Barbara Lifton and Cortland Mayor, Brian Tobin at Suggett Park.

Other members and organizations of the Cortland community such as the YWCA and Cortland Schools Superintendent Michael Hoose were also present at this public meeting.

Assemblymember Lifton and Cortland Mayor Tobin, not only showed Heastie the new and developed Suggett Park. They also showed him the inside of the recently closed Alton B. Parker Elementary School. As the Cortland YWCA and CAPCO (Cortland County's Community Action Program) are looking to collaborate and turn it into a new child care center.

The two organizations would share funds, services, resources and much more.

According to YWCA Executive Director Kelly Tobin, the YWCA is the largest provider of childcare in our county and CAPCO is the largest provider of “Head Start” in the county. With "Head Start" being a Department of Health and Human Services program that provides comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition and parent involvement services for low-income children and families.

The City of Cortland is looking to purchase the facility and allow the Cortland YWCA and CAPCO to maintain it.

The market value of the building is estimated to be $600,000.

“The YWCA childcare is only one component of what we do," said Kelly Tobin. "We also do mentoring, health & fitness and have a big service program. Then for CAPCO, childcare is one component of what they have as well; but they also do a lot of family development, food pantries and much more.

Both Heastie and Lifton showed great enthusiasm on supporting the project.

“I’m a big supporter for anything that involves kids,” said Heastie.

Assemblymember Lifton, recently helped secure state funding to build a new and inclusive playground in the park, making it accessible for children with and without disabilities.

"This would stabilize the landscape of the two largest providers," added Kelly Tobin. "The goal will be to work collectively to try to expand and serve more kids and also provide more family services.”