Parker School Building committee to meet next week

Parker School. (Photo Source: Kevin L. Smith of The Cortland Voice).

The Parker School Ad Hoc Planning Committee’s first meeting is set for 6-7 p.m. May 23 at Cortland County Community Action Program (CAPCO) building on North Main Street, according to an announcement made at Tuesday’s Common Council meeting.

During the April 19 meeting, Common Council voted unanimously to form and appoint members to the Parker School Ad Hoc Planning Committee.

Councilpersons Katy Silliman (D-2nd Ward), MaryClare Pennello (D-3rd Ward), Pat Lane (D-4th Ward) and Troy Beckwith (D-7th Ward) were appointed to the committee. According to the resolution based on the committee, the group is responsible for selecting a chairperson and has the authority to appoint other members.

A portion of the former elementary school building on Madison Street is for the development of the Cortland Community Early Learning Center (CCELC). The CCELEC would consolidate early childhood education services provided by the local YWCA and CAPCO.

The city currently owns and oversees the development of the Parker School Building. The committee formed will be tasked with assignments as follows:

  • Assisting in planning for the proposed use of the Parker School building for child care services by CAPCO and the YWCA
  • Determining the best use of the portion of the Parker School building not being used for child care purposes
  • Determining the design of said portions, scope of work, timeframes and funding sources

Silliman noted at Tuesday’s meeting that the “principle people” for the committee will meet first on Monday. She added that the committee will discuss “what’s needed in terms of who should be serving on the committee” and “what kind of skills are needed.”

“We have a lot of people willing to serve,” Silliman added. “Hopefully things will go once we get things rolling a lot smoother.”

City mayor Scott Steve noted at the April 19 meeting that the committee was formed in an “effort to try and move (things) along.”

“There’s a lot of work that has to be done here and a lot of decisions that have to be made,” he said. Steve added that is looking for the committee “to step up” and “get the ball rolling” in terms of needs and requests for the Parker School Building.

Steve mentioned he has a vision for the building in which it could be a community center. He added that it could potentially cover “some of the community’s needs,” including speech pathology, hearing and more.

Kelly Tobin, the executive director at the YWCA, noted in April that the city has had a similar committee in the past.

“It provides a representation of what the city envisions the property to look like and what the community wants,” Tobin said. “It’s great that the city is going to form this to look closely at the project and bring it over the finish line.”

The committee's members of the past, Tobin added, were “acting in the capacity of talking with the community, business and determining needs.”

“Having a continuation of city leadership to look at this project and make sure it becomes a reality for this community benefits everybody,” she said.