Cutbacks in private and state funding put the Lyons Community Center building, located at 4 Manhattan St., to be put up for sale in September.

The Lyons Community Center building went up for sale last September, due to cutbacks in private and state funding.

The Center, which is located at 4 Manhattan St., has been around since 1942 providing generations of residents  activities, sports, programs — and a place to be with friends.

However, all that came to be at risk last Fall.

“Private funding in the range of $40,000 per year, and public funding in excess of $50,000 per year (School and Village) has been cut,” said C.J. Britt, President of the LCC Board of Directors. “This was approximately the amount needed to pay the annual debt service.

“We have been pursuing alternative funding streams, but have not come up with a viable solution at this point.”

Britt added that a listing Agreement was signed on the facility Aug. 30, 2011, and that the For Sale sign went up in September.

“In order to keep the building under the ownership of the LCC, we would either need to source approx. $1.7 Million in donations to pay off the mortgage, or find annual sources of income in the $100,000 range to be able to service the debt,” Britt said. “Both of these appear to be major uphill battles given the economy, etc.”

Users of the facility do pay program fees.

“This money is used to support general operations including staff, utilities, insurances, etc.,” Britt said. “User fees have a limit as many of our community members can't afford to pay higher fees and would miss out on program options.”

The center still welcomes everyone — from senior citizens involved in fitness classes, walking or Silver Sneakers, to youth sports, after-school programs, summer youth programs, activity nights for the elementary school and for teens, as well as a fitness/wellness facility for adults.

Specialized classes in such pursuits as quilting and sewing are offered, as are multiple holiday festivals.
There’s something for everyone and everyone plays. No one is turned away.

“If the building were to be sold, we are hopeful that a new lease could be signed for space in the facility,” said Britt. “This would allow us to continue offering our programs to the community.

“If not, an alternative location will be sought out.”

The community center is about much more than sports skills. Children learn to work with everyone through a team as all skills needed in real life also are taught by the staff members.

In the after-school program, help is given with homework.

“The center’s youth programs supplement school activities,” Cesar Ortiz, director of programs was quoted saying in a Wayne Post article on Feb. 27, 2011. “Many are offered after school, evenings, over vacations and during the summer.

“It not only provides a safe, supervised place for youth to join together, but it’s an organization that provides structured recreational and leisure activities to the residents of Lyons and surrounding areas, unlike towns and villages that have recreation departments as part of their municipal services.”

Special events, like AAU Basketball tournaments, Billy Martin’s Cole All Star Circus, Junior Lions Cheerleading Competition, Panthers Extreme Cheerleading, Pee Wee Wrestling Tournament, high school basketball and volleyball, and the New York State Eastern Golden Gloves Boxing Championship take place at LCC each year.

A year ago this month Ortiz mailed a campaign letter to residents hoping for financial donations, but sufficient funds to keep the Center solvent were not forthcoming, including the cutback in private and state funds, resulted in the ‘For Sale’ sign going up last Fall.