Cohoes Community Center shuts down after nearly 50 years

October 26, 2018 11:28 PM

COHOES - A staple in Cohoes for nearly five decades shut down Friday because they just can't afford to continue operations.

The Cohoes Community Center has racked up more than $450,000 in debt and parents were alerted that they would have to find someplace else for their kids to go.


The doors were shut at 5:30 p.m. Friday evening. They will stay that way for good, or at least until another solution can be found to continue operations.

The closure means 72 full and part time employees will be out of a job and 29 kids will be forced to find daycare options elsewhere.

Assem. John McDonald tells NewsChannel 13 that as a result of all of this, the district attorney's office has reached out to him to try and understand what has happened here. He has placed a call to the attorney general's office to look into the matter.

About a month ago, members of the board reached out to McDonald, expressing concern there wasn't enough money, potentially, to continue operations.

The board asked the previous director to resign and a former bookkeeper began to do some research.

It became apparent pretty quickly that many bills had been going unpaid. A mortgage on the building and several bank lines of credit had been taken out, but nothing that was really raising red flags to board members.

Payroll for the employees is around $200,000. The center doesn't even have enough money to pay them for their wages this past week.

The United Church of Cohoes is asking for donations and a GoFundMe page will be set up to help pay the employees for their week of services.

The superintendent of schools in Cohoes says the pre-k programs in the city will continue on, because they're funded through a grant with the Department of Education. However, the before-and-after care will no longer operate after Friday.

"It's sad all the way around," acknowledged Kurt Leininger, a parent. "I spoke to some of the workers in there. They're great, the staff. The Department of Labor is supposed to come here Monday morning and assist them. Hopefully, they can get the before and aftercare up and running through the school district and hopefully it works out for everybody. I mean, I love the staff here. They did a phenomenal job. They taught swim lessons here. It's a part of the community and we hope that they can fix what needs to be fixed and get it up and running again and move forward."

Members of the Rapid Response team from the Department of Labor will be at the center on Monday at 10:00 help the 72 employees who are out of jobs apply for unemployment, help with any healthcare concerns they might have and help them look for a job.

The Boys & Girls Club and the JCC have already reached out to employees with opportunities available.

No plans as of yet, but McDonald says he hopes to have the center continue on – whether it be independently operating of the city, or operating by the city.


Karen Tararache

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