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Community center bolsters Truxton

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Truxton community center organizer Jeanette Laudermilk prepares for Friday’s fundraiser at the former Hartnett Elementary School in Truxton.

TRUXTON — The quaint town with a couple of churches, bars, a few mechanic shops, an antique shop, gas station, ski resort and camping site, among a few other small businesses, stays quiet most days.

Most weeks. And most months.

Ever since the Hartnett Elementary School was closed by the Homer Board of Education at the end of last school year, traffic through the town has dwindled, said Town Supervisor Lloyd Sutton Jr.

He said about 20 jobs were lost when the school closed and although there is no evidence to suggest a connection, two local businesses have closed since then.

“The school had been a hub to the community,” Sutton said. “Not having it decreased traffic in the town, which hurts businesses.”

However he said he understands Truxton is not the only town struggling to grow its economy as “nothing in New York has taken off.”

But there are a couple of initiatives in place, he sees as being beneficial for the town in the near future.

The first is the creation of the Truxton Community Center, at 6337 Academy St., in the former Hartnett Elementary School building.

Jeanetta Laudermilk, who is spearheading the initiative to create the community center, said the center first opened during the summer for small community events. The center’s first big event, a gala fundraiser, takes place at 7 tonight.

There will be dancing, food and a silent auction, all to raise money in support of the community center, Laudermilk said. She and a few other local volunteers spent Friday afternoon cleaning the facility, performing maintenance work and decorating the gymnasium, where the gala will take place.

Issues with the building’s boiler system and well were raised during a public hearing Wednesday night concerning the proposed Truxton Academy Charter School, which would also occupy the facility.

Laudermilk said the boiler had been inspected with no major issues reported and another inspector will be coming in soon to give a second opinion. Also she said there is a sulfur-like odor from the well, but the quality of the water meets all standards. A water filtration system, or another method, may be installed to rid the sulfur-like scent.

After the gala there are many more plans for the community center. Laudermilk said a local resident gave a large donation so that new kitchen equipment can be purchased.

“We could have pancake breakfasts and spaghetti dinners,” she said.

And there is the possibility, in the near future, Truxton recreational activities could take place at the center, too.

“We’re just getting started,” Laudermilk said. “We hope to have many activities in November.”

Sutton lauded the community center project, saying it is absolutely important to have for the youths and adults.

Along with the center, Sutton said if the charter school were to be approved, it would be “a huge benefit on the local community.”

“I think it will help the real estate market,” he said. “People want to live near where their kids go to school.”

The Labrador Mountain ski resort in the town brings a lot of people into Truxton when it is in season, but Sutton said he believes the charter school would bring more constant traffic to the town.

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