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NYS SENATOR JOHN Bonacic, left, and former Sullivan County Planning and Community Development Commissioner Alan Sorensen hold the $400,000 “check” given to the Town of Fallsburg to rehabilitate the old Fallsburg High School in South Fallsburg (seen behind them), which will become the new town hall.

Fallsburg, Rockland,
Liberty Get Funds

By Matt Youngfrau
SOUTH FALLSBURG — September 9, 2003 – New York State Senator John Bonacic was in South Fallsburg yesterday to hand out three Small Cities Block Grants. The municipalities receiving the grants were the Town of Fallsburg, the Village of Liberty, and the Town of Rockland.
The Small Cities Block Grants fund housing, infrastructure, and economic development for smaller communities in the state. There were 86 award winners in 2003.
“This is a terrific day for Sullivan County,” Bonacic commented. “This grant is very competitive. [Fallsburg] tried a couple of applications. [Sullivan County Legislators] Leni [Binder] and Bob [Kunis] got involved.”
Fallsburg was awarded a $400,000 grant to create a community center for seniors and youth activities. The money will be used to renovate the old Fallsburg High School. The building was sold to the town by Community Resource Center (now Sullivan ARC) for $1.
It is expected that the Community Center will be open within a year. The town is also considering moving its town offices and police to the building.
“This building will be multi-purpose. It will serve the youth, seniors, and adults,” said Bonacic. “It will become the heartbeat of the town.”
“Governor Pataki got the federal government to turn the program over to the state in 2000,” remarked Executive Director of the Small Cities Program Glen King. “It is better for decisions to be made closer to the local level. This is an important project [in Fallsburg] and there was fierce competition. It will be the heart of the community. I look forward to being here for the ribbon-cutting.”
“Even though this is the political season, this was a bipartisan effort,” Bonacic said. “Through many people’s work, it is a reality. This is a positive development for all three communities.”
“Words cannot express how I feel,” stated District 7 Legislator Leni Binder. Binder was one of three legislators on hand that represent Fallsburg. “This is an example of the town and county working together. It is a great project.”
“I have a special feeling today,” remarked District 8 Legislator Bob Kunis. “I grew up in South Fallsburg. This building was the flagship of the community. I have tremendous memories here, and it is a wonderful thing to see it rejuvenated. It has been dormant too long. I am very proud.”
“I had this idea a few years ago,” Fallsburg Supervisor Steve Levine commented. “We need a place for the youth and seniors. It has a tremendous future. We will go forward. This is something we can use. This will be the center of the town.”
“I have been a strong advocate for the youth for 14 years now,” Vice-President of the Fallsburg Youth Center Ruby Gold said. “The youth want events at a place they can be. They do not want to hang out on the street. It will bring the community together. I am very excited.”
The Village of Liberty also received a $400,000 grant. The money will be used to replace infrastructure along Orchard and Spring streets.
“I have home roots here in Fallsburg,” stated District 6 Legislator Jodi Goodman. Goodman represents both Fallsburg and Liberty. “I am glad we were able to take the money. This is exciting.”
“This is a great day,” agreed Liberty Mayor William “Rube” Smith. “This will go to badly needed infrastructure repair.”
The Town of Rockland received a $142,500 grant. That money will allow 59 homes to be connected to the new Roscoe sewer line. Without the money, it would have been an economic hardship for those residents.
“We finished this last year,” remarked Rockland Supervisor Pat Pomeroy. “This will connect the new system and close the old system. We are thrilled to get this.”
“The first rule in grantwriting is perseverance,” former Sullivan County Planning and Economic Development Commissioner Alan Sorensen said. Sorensen was instrumental in helping all three grants be written and get approval. “This location [the Fallsburg Community Center] will help house the next generation of Fallsburg residents and children. It is an important piece of the puzzle. Things like this do not happen by accident. It is a county/town partnership.”
“There is a lot of pride in Sullivan County,” Bonacic concluded. “Sullivan County will be the most sought after place to live and invest in. Everyone needs to get involved.”
More than 30 people attended yesterday’s press conference. Afterward, the officials toured the building.

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