By JASON BRICKELBACK • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – Common Council this evening discussed options to continue operation of the Oneonta Teen Center despite the YMCA’s choice not to carry the program beyond Dec. 31, when the Y’s contract with the city expires.
“At first we were led to believe that the Y would be able to continue after the 31st until we find another operator,” Council member Dave Rissberger told his colleagues. “That is not happening.”
A portion of the 2017 budget has already been allocated for teen activities and programs. The city can take on the program if its insurance liability policy covers it. The city owns the Armory on Academy Street, where the teen center is located.
“We have to look at personnel issues,” Mayor Gary Herzig said, “who would be supervising, who would be overseeing it, who would be responsible for programming.”
The council agreed its ideal option is to bring in another third party organization to fill the Y’s role. Council members have reached out to three organizations to garner interest: Friends of Recovery of Delaware & Otsego County (FOR-DO), Oneonta World of Learning (OWL), and Family Services Association.
“We are looking forward to other parties coming in to operate the teen center as it operates, put some modifications in, or do something else, which we will then listen to and say ‘sounds good,’” Council member John Rafter said.
The council plans to hold a meeting soon to discuss the issue further and to devise a solution before the Dec. 31 expiration date to avoid a gap in services.
“I think the program is important. It’s important to the kids,” Rissberger said. “It’s a program we don’t have anywhere else. It would be a shame to see it disappear.”