In honor of its 75th anniversary, the Blairstown Rotary announced plans for a community center at the Blairstown Township Committee meeting, February 9th.
The organization set its sights on Givens-Belet Hall, the American Legion Building on Hope Road.
Givens-Belet already functions as a township owned meeting space, allowing funds for renovation rather than acquisition. With ample space inside, proper parking and an outdoor pavilion, the building is a “reasonable location,” said Rotarians during their presentation to the Committee.
They said that Givens-Belet will remain available for American Legion use and will continue to display memorabilia and serve as a place to recognize veterans. In fact, Rotary hopes to enhance the memorial space in front of the building.
To get the ball rolling, Rotarians met with Blairstown’s Recreation Department Director, Patricia Sagan, and Blairstown firefighter Eric Usinowicz, plus local contractors Pete McKenna and Paul Klein. To discuss any large-scale renovations, the Club spoke with local architect, Ray O’Brien.
The Rotarians have volunteered to take the helm of this project, creating a budget and searching for funds. All to increase community involvement, member Bob Law said the plan to, “seek out discounts on supplies and labor and work with the town to take advantage of contract purchase discounts.”
Working alongside the Township Committee, the Rotary also plans to connect with other community organizations such as the Blairstown Enhancement Committee, the American Legion and Garden Club, to provide volunteer labor. Rotary wishes to “conduct fundraising like what was done with the Blairstown sign and park on Main Street”, a few years back.
After the community center is established, the Township Committee would work with the community service groups to take over the organization of events, fundraising and search for volunteers.
At the Township Committee meeting, Law explained that with approval, the Rotary will review all plans and actions with the Committee ahead of time and prepare a presentation for the community to raise awareness and launch a promotional social media campaign for the project.
“I’m all for it,” said Mayor Rob Moorehead as the Township Committee voted to move forward and described it as a worthwhile endeavor.
Alex Tironi, Contributing Writer
A recent graduate of George Mason University in Virginia, Alex pursued a degree in journalism with a double minor in American Sign Language and nonprofit studies. She worked as assistant news editor to the Fourth Estate, the university newspaper where she reported on many things but mostly focused on campus crime and PD activity. While working for a nonprofit called the Borgen Project, she wrote about global health and poverty in third-world nations. Alex recently finished an internship writing and editing for a business consulting company in NY. Growing up in the area, she has always been active in her community and brings the same intention as a contributing writer for the Ridge View Echo.