August 4, 2007

A community center in the Village of Dryden?

Community center discussions in the Town of Dryden tend to polarize east-west. The west side has community centers, while the east side has schools and villages. On the east side, fire departments often provide space for community events, there's a greater sense of belonging to a place, and village governments provide another outlet for neighborhoods to get things done.

I've wondered for a while if it was really that simple, and if it was good for it to be that simple. The Village of Dryden has had some ups and downs lately, with storefronts emptying, Charlie's Diner getting in a Spitzer ad highlighting upstate decline, and the disappearance of what had briefly been a great Victorian Winter Festival. Maybe there's room to do something interesting?

I was delighted to hear from Wendy Martin, who's working with a group of Village of Dryden residents thinking about creating a community center where Charlie's Diner used to be. You can get a sense of what they have in mind by looking over their mission flyer (140KB PDF). Key points I'm glad to see include:

  • Non-profit

  • Intends to connect existing local organizations

  • Coffee shop gives people the chance to drop in anytime

  • Central location accessible to lots of pedestrians, with parking out back

  • Regular events can draw people to downtown Dryden

  • Looking for community input; planning is still getting started.

They'll be having an organizational meeting on Thursday, August 23rd, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm at the Dryden Village Hall, 16 South Street. It would be great to see this flower! It seems achievable, and a real opportunity to build stronger community in Dryden.

Posted by simon at August 4, 2007 2:58 PM in ,
Note on photos


Mary Ann said:

It's not that simple but it should be. It is naturally easier to create a sense of community where population is denser. I was stunned by Councilperson Christoferson's comment that "the east side of town doesn't have a commuinity center." I missed the opportunity to point out that Etna, Varna, Ellis Hollow and Bethel Grove have community centers because residents got together and created them without any town support.

Public money is no substitute for highly motivated voluteer effort. I applaud the Dryden Village group and their plans to create a community coffeehouse. I'm sure the town will support them as we are now trying to support the other four community centers.