The Walden Village Board accepted the community center bid to LP Builders at their meeting last Tuesday. The $905,000 bid amount will be used to build The Anita Louise Vandermark Community Center in honor of the community icon and Wallkill Valley Times columnist. Once built, Walden will no longer be the only village in the Town of Montgomery without a senior center.
The decision was reached after careful consideration regarding the cost of materials. Board members noted that costs are going up as companies rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. They felt that the LP Builders bid was the best they could obtain.
“The businesses are trying to get their profit back, so I don’t foresee anything coming down drastically,” said Deputy Mayor Willie Carley.
The Village of Walden will do their site work in house, saving them $65,000.
The building will be stationed at James W. Olley Community Park, where it will house events such as weddings and birthday parties. In addition, the park will serve as a shelter for Walden recreation and park’s campers in the event there is inclement weather. The structure will measure over 5,000 square feet and is capable of holding more than 365 people.
“I feel that the center would be used in its optimal condition right there for many, many events,” said Walden Mayor John Ramos. “It gives us, the Village of Walden, an area where we can conduct meetings. I would love for the Orange County Association of Towns, Villages & Cities to host a party for everyone in the county to come to. The viability of this building far exceeds what we should not envision… I think we can use it to its full capacity on any given weekend or any special holiday.”
Walden Trustee Lynn Thompson also spoke highly of the community center.
“There is really no other place in the village that we can utilize like how we’d like to utilize this facility,” she said.
Village Manager John Revella noted that the village board looked at the former Walden United Methodist Church as a location for events, however the renovation costs were too high.
Carley added that there is no timetable for when the project will be completed. Ramos wanted to start construction in October 2020, however delays were caused as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Members of the village board struggled to meet in person, which is important for looking at blueprints.