Wednesday, August 6, 2008


You and I all have been hoping that the “no news is good news” quote would hold true for the CommunityThink project, but alas...!

After we blinded them with our prolific lineup in June, GP&R indicated it would be too complicated to do the required processing & screening of new instructors (in time for the fall session.) July was lost to vacation and telephone/email tag. As of Monday, August 4th, Groton Parks & Rec has backed away fairly completely from their original offer of useage of the William Seely building. At this point, the Director cannot even confirm or guarantee the Seeley building as available for outright rental (potentially $25/hr to non-profits with proof of insurance.) Building, remodelling & redistricting of Groton schools & community spaces has further complicated the bureaucratic element.

Additionally, the GP&R instructors who originally indicated they would be available have scheduled their classes for traditional post-3pm timeslots. We DO have the option, as parent volunteers, to go through the screening and class submission process of Parks & Rec to be able to offer (FREE!) classes at certain times at Seely in the Winter Session. GP&R then reserves the right to determine whether or not the classes would benefit the community. (Did we mention “FREE”?)

SO - as our own group, we still have all the makings, volunteers & willingness for something fabulous, but once again, lack the space. CAN YOU HELP?

Some of the considerations so far are local churches, firehouses and libraries - all very lovely (and FREE!) local assets. The primary limitation on these facilities is that they usually have only 1 or 2 rooms available. We could certainly request consecutive useage of a room or rooms in one of these facilities, but a portion of the community-building aspect does get lost....

An ideal situation would be:
- an already instructionally/public insured active building
- lounge/gathering space
- 2 to 6 additional class/meeting rooms (Experience shows that we need a bare minimum of 2 rooms, accommodating at least 10 pp each, in addition to the lounge/community gathering space.
- gym and/or stage area
- outdoor playspace
- walking access to town/city amenities (eateries, park, arts, etc)
- central to SECT, easy I-95 access (Groton, New London, Waterford, Norwich)
A tall order, indeed, but why not shoot for the moon?!

Does anyone have contacts or further information about spaces that may be underutilized weekdays before 3pm:
Connectict College - Chapel, Halloran Center, Lyman Allyn, Arbortum, other...?
Community College spaces?
Museum Education center spaces?
Other area Art Centers, gyms, corporate spaces or Community Centers?

Another option, more complicated, but possible, private facility rental - residential or commercial. Anyone have a grand 10 bedroom victorian in their back pocket, or an unused business park/office building?

Less Plausible Considerations:
• The former Oral School - auditorium is rentable only at $70/hr with $1mil insurance, classroom space rented out privately or in poor condition
• Vacated Groton Schools including Noank, Westside, Groton Heights - pending use for Senior Center & not available and/or require extensive upgrades to be suitable/safe.
• Mystic Art Ctr has only 2 classrms, some daytime use
• Mystic YMCA - only 2 classrms, fairly high daytime use

It could still work! We can let our brilliance shine forward into collaborative success...!

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