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Waddington Resource Center faces closure

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WADDINGTON — The Waddington Resource Center could shut its doors as soon as next month unless volunteers find a way to keep it funded.

The neighborhood center provides food, clothing and other assistance to nearly 50 families in need within the community.

In June, the town board agreed to stop funding to the center, effective July 31, in hopes the center would become self-sufficient.

Town Supervisor Sandy R. Wright said neighboring communities fund their resource centers with the help of churches and community groups and donations. She said funding the center was no longer “cost-effective.”

“We just felt as a board we shouldn’t be funding it if no one of the surrounding communities funds theirs,” Ms. Wright said. “Madrid’s ‘New Beginnings’ is funded by three churches which started out in an old horse barn and they have fundraised to erect a new double-wide center. In the communities of Lisbon and Heuvelton, those programs are sponsored by churches. In Louisville, there is no cost to administer the program. A volunteer goes and picks up supplies and they are distributed the same day.”

The rent and heating bills were paid by the town for many years. The town has been paying rent and utilities from Aug. 1 2013 to June 2014 to the tune of $7,755.

But while the center may be able to pull together enough money to remain open through September, volunteer director Edie Streeter said it won’t be able to afford both rent and costly heating bills in the winter in the building.

“We have fuel, light, rent, water and plowing bills,” Ms. Streeter said. “I asked if they would fund us until October. But they decided to stop funding it right then and there.”

The Waddington Neighborhood Center used to be managed by the St. Lawrence County Community Development Program before the local churches reorganized as the Waddington Family Resource Center a few years ago.

The Resource Center has been located in Old Town Hall for the last 20 years. But the center moved to its permanent location at the former rescue squad building on Route 37 owned by Ed and Lori Sharlow this year while renovations were underway at the Old Town Hall.

The Sharlows have since reduced their rent to half price or $250 to help support the center.

“We’ll have to take it one month at a time,” Ms. Streeter said. “Right now the generosity of the public is outstanding and it is encouraging us to keep the center going.”

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