Planning Update

On Wednesday July 12th, members of the YCC Steering Committee offered two open meetings to the neighborhood around the Town-owned wooded parcel behind the West Main Street Schools. The School buildings themselves are on a different lot, but their current occupant TJD&A kindly offered the conference room as a convenient meeting spot. We were thrilled to have 18 neighbors attend.

YCC Co-Chairs Horace Horton, Barbara Horton, and Beth Costello explained the mission of the YCC as an effort by YCAN (Yarmouth Cares about Neighbors) to create a centralized and welcoming multi-generational hub for gatherings and social services, including the Food Pantry, Aging in Place, Medical Loan Closet, Rides Program, and potentially Yarmouth Community Services which is currently in the small building behind Town Hall.

YCC Site Selection subcommittee member Sarah Witte shared a large aerial of the town with five locations currently under consideration. She also described the criteria for site selection, which include proximity to downtown, walkability, cost, compatible neighborhood, safety, visibility, access and parking, and ability to meet ADA requirements.

The five locations, from west to east, are: the West Main site behind the old Ledge Schoolhouse, a portion of the Sligo Road/CMP poleyard, a portion of the Royal River Park at the end of Yarmouth Crossing Drive, the Bickford acreage at Railroad Crossing, and the Bennett Field at Rowe School. All but the Bickford parcel are Town owned. Each site has opportunities and constraints!

A creative and community-spirited discussion ensued. The YCC Steering Committee members took note of the strong and consistent thoughts of the attendees, who made the following points about the West Main Street land:

  • It is too small for the proposed building and parking.
  • It does not offer room for expansion.
  • It is a residential area, and in the Medium Density Residential Zone, which residents enjoy and want to preserve.
  • Residents have been heavily impacted by recent development (noise and dust) and are concerned that the traffic from YCC would be unsafe and disruptive.
  • The land provides green space and buffer for many people, and is also an ecological resource.

The collective and unanimous voice was heard! Many thanks to all who attended, as we continue to ‘reality test’ our possibilities. Many thanks also to those who spoke positively of the YCC mission, who look forward to using it and even identified themselves as future volunteers.

Community Center Update

The Yarmouth Community Center (YCC), under the organizational framework of Yarmouth Cares About Neighbors (YCAN), is planning a community center to provide a centralized hub for services, resources and fellowship. The intent is to create a dedicated space to integrate an excellent but currently fragmented array of programs and services, as well as provide a welcoming space for people of all ages to gather.

VISION & ASSUMPTIONS:

  • a friendly welcoming community center in a centrally located, easy to access village location
  • ample parking and accessible design
  • a gathering place for all ages, with café amenities, wifi, kitchen and flexible use space to accommodate changing needs
  • large multipurpose, multigenerational space for classes, functions and rentals
  • a centralized hub for offices and programs of YCAN, Food Pantry, Community Services, General Assistance, and Medical Loan Closet operations
  • creative partnerships with the Town of Yarmouth, Yarmouth businesses and nonprofits

SPATIAL CONCEPT

  • YCC n/i YCS: 8000 sf +/-
  • YCS: 1600 sf +/-
  • parking: 50 cars, plus area shared (two-way) and on-street parking
  • loading and delivery doors necessary for Food Pantry and Medical Loan

TIMELINE

  • March 2016: YCAN charges YCC Steering Committee with planning.
  • September 2016: Community Needs Assessment completed (see report)
  • 2016-2017: Site Selection and fundraising/budgeting
  • 2017: Explore partnerships with Town of Yarmouth and beneficial relationships with private or non-profit sector.
  • 2017: Develop marketing and publicity materials to share with the community.

YCC Steering Committee Members

Horace Horton, Barbara Horton, Beth Costello, Cathy Gavin
, Bill Goddard, Maura Halkiotis, Charlie Horstmann, Lynn Hynes, Leigh Kirchner, Jack Moore, Peter Small, Sarah Witte
, Karen MacNeill– Town of Yarmouth Liaison

Upcoming Public Meetings

A POTENTIAL SITE for the Yarmouth Community Center is the Town-owned land at the corner of West Main St. and Sligo Rd. Notices have been mailed to abutters and neighbors with the schedule forinformational meetings. Members of the Steering Committee for the YCC will attend both meetings for a discussion of proposed plans, ideas, and concerns.
The two meetings will take place on
Wednesday, July 12th
from
4:00 to 5:30 PM
and
7:00 to 8:30 PM
at 121 West Main Street
Yarmouth, Maine
Residents are welcome to attend either session.

Community Center Project Update

The Steering Committee (SC) discussed Locations, Finances, and the Needs Assessment Study at its monthly meeting on May 2nd.

After revisiting Winslow Station, the SC members concluded that paying for code compliancy updates and ADA issues would be rather expensive for our purposes.

SC also explored NYA properties that will be coming on the market. However, after paying for acquisition and renovation, the properties may be too costly. There are also access and parking issues that would need to be resolved.

Beth Costello and Lynn Hynes presented their draft of the Needs Assessment Study for SC review and revision.

Lastly, SC is starting to concentrate on financial aspects, including annual budgets of components of a Yarmouth Community Center (YCC).  For example, the Food Pantry Committee needs to calculate utility and food acquisition costs in order to feed into a total budget for the YCC. The SC will also be working to determine what methods of fundraising will be used.

April 3, 2017 Steering Committee Minutes

YCAN Board members Lynn Hynes and Peter Small have joined the Steering Committee.

After investigating Winslow Station as a possible home for the Medical Loan Closet, Mary Conneen, Director of the Health Council’s Medical Loan Closet, notified the Steering Committee that the the location’s expenses would be greater than the Health Council can afford.

The police and fire departments will likely keep their in-town locations, and not seek to use YCC space.

The Steering Committee’s objective, developed in consultation with YCAN, is to find a single location that will be suitable for all agreed-upon uses for the Community Center.

When the Needs Assessment Study is completed (hopefully by May 1st), the Design Concept Phase will begin. Sarah Witte, Janet Hansen, and Frank Oliva have created “Bubble Diagrams” to show alternative space uses for the YCC.

The next step for the project is to seek the Finance Subcommittee’s assistance to develop a budget for the project, then lay out fundraising and financing alternatives.

YCC Potential Uses: Storage for Medical Loan Closet

One of many possible roles being considered for a Yarmouth Community Center (YCC) building could be as a new storage location for Yarmouth’s Medical Loan Closet (MLC). The MLC is a medical equipment library: community members can borrow items at no charge, and return them when they are no longer needed.

Mary Conneen, Director of the MLC, shared its history and needs at the most recent YCC steering committee meeting. The Yarmouth Health Council, a 501(c)3 non-profit with about 40 members, has operated the MLC for 60 years to serve a cross section of Yarmouth residents with varying short-term needs. Requests for equipment loans are initiated either by residents or by medical professionals working with residents, and are coordinated by the Yarmouth Health Council (who provide the equipment from 3-5 pm on weekdays) and Yarmouth Community Services (who receive six to eight calls daily asking about equipment loans).

All MLC equipment has been donated by residents, and includes items such as 4-wheeled walkers, wheel chairs, hospital beds, shower/tub seats, crutches, canes, and knee scooters. The MLC’s current storage space is owned by the Town, but space is tight. While new donations are gratefully accepted, it has sometimes been necessary to refuse donations of useful larger items (like recliners) which do not fit in the current storage space.

Mary Coneen said that if the MLC could obtain space about the size of a two-car garage, it would be possible to store items on shelving, which would provide faster and easier access to all pieces of equipment, as well as a safer environment for both volunteers and clients.

The MLC is but one example of neighbors helping neighbors in Yarmouth that might be even more effective if it had access to a bit more dedicated and/or shared space.

Presenting… the YCC logo

The Yarmouth (Maine) Community Center project now has a logo:

YCC Logo

Many thanks to Joline Edwards for developing it.

We look forward to putting this logo to good use going forward as we continue to solicit ideas about community needs and interests which could be better served if Yarmouth had a community center building.

If you are interested in learning more about this project, participating in it, or contributing to it, please contact us!