Plans afoot for Red Jacket Community Center

The results of a survey earlier this year brought no surprises: People in Manchester and Shortsville want — and need — a community center.

The polling yielded responses from some 250 people who confirmed that residents in this rural community need a central place where families, organizations, businesses and people of all ages can come together for fitness, programs, events and other activities.

“There is amazing support for it,” said Jennifer Luecke, a member of the newly-formed board, Friends of the Red Jacket Community Center. She said the survey will help guide decisions about what the center will look like and what it will provide.

“The idea is one everyone loves,” said Jason Wagner, president of the board. While the board has a long way to go to create the center, he said the enthusiasm and help so far is a good sign.

With the survey results in hand this spring, by June the group had a local lawyer offering pro bono services to help incorporate and file the paperwork. The board has bylaws, and in the works is a business plan.

Wagner, who is Shortsville fire chief and experienced in grant writing and marketing, said he is glad to bring his practical skills to the project.

Wagner and Luecke talked about concerns the community center will address. Those include the lack of places for children and youth to engage in healthy activities. The periods when school is out and parents are at work are especially troublesome when there is nowhere to go, Wagner said. The community also lacks an all-day daycare for children. There is no fitness center in the Manchester/Shortsville area, which also lacks places and programs for senior citizens.

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