Joe Burns offers cheaper alternative to local youth center

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BINGHAMTON, NY – Democratic Candidate for Binghamton Mayor Joe Burns says the current administration could be wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on a youth center when a cheaper alternative is available next door.

Councilman Burns says he’s heard from members of the Saint Mary’s and Saint Paul’s parish council that the Saint Mary of the Assumption Rec Center on Hawley Street is up for sale.

Burns says it’s located less than 100 yards from where the city plans to build a new 7 million dollar youth center in neighboring Columbus Park.

The Democrat says the rec center has a large gymnasium, locker rooms, 4 classrooms and a full kitchen, everything needed for a youth center.

Burns says the building is assessed at roughly 1 million dollars and with another million in upgrades, the city would still save 5 million.

“As Mayor, I would hit the pause button on this new youth center. If the negotiations didn’t work out with St. Mary’s, then we would just go ahead and build it. But there’s no reason to go ahead until we pause on it. It is for sale and who else is going to buy a youth center?” says Burns.

City spokesman and Republican Candidate for Mayor Jared Kraham says the city has tried repeatedly to purchase the building, only to have its offers denied.

A spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse says it’s more of a parish issue, but she did confirm that the city has asked to purchase the building in the past

She says that while it is not formally for sale now, the facility is under-utilized and discussions have been held with other entities about potential future uses.

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