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Options weighed for Seneca Falls drop-in center as building deteriorates

FL1 Staff Photo

The Seneca Connections Drop-in Center was subject to intense debate at Tuesday’s Mental Health Services Committee for the Seneca County Board of Supervisors.

The debate was over the ADA Compliance of the facility, which is in need of significant repair. The bathrooms specifically will cost nearly $50,000 to repair and bring up to compliance. However, members of the board expressed concern over the other expenses associated with the building.

Bob Stuck, ‎Superintendent of Facilities at Seneca County, noted that the true cost of renovating the building to legal standards — on just cosmetic issues could cost more than $139,000.

Fayette Town Supervisor Cindy Lorenzetti started out the debate, noting that investing as much as $50,000 into a bathroom, when other repairs would be necessary to maintain the structure — skyrocketing the overall cost — might not be the smartest allocation of funds.

To complicate matters, the board was left contending with the fact that there remains limited space in the facility to deal with potential growth at the facility. According to those who help run the facility, around 50 visitors a day — who suffer from varying mental illnesses — utilize it.

Those who run the facility noted that the location is crucial, since a clinic located at Academy Square is a big traffic driver. The facility is located on Cayuga St.

“Does it all have to come from the burden of the taxpayer in Seneca County?” asked Supervisor Lorenzetti. “I think we need to know what our other options are,” she continued.

“The structure is not conducive for it’s use,” Stuck explained. This furthered the discussion around the future of the facility and how it might be used moving forward. Particularly, this pushed the discussion onward regarding other options. The committee tasked County Manager John Sheppard with looking at other options, such as other properties already owned by Seneca County.

Lodi Town Supervisor Lee Davidson said that the County should look at building a new facility. “Maybe the County owns something already that could be used,” he suggested.

This matter will be brought back up at next month’s committee meeting.

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