Dozens of residents neighboring the former Parker School came to a public meeting Ward 2 Council member Katy Silliman and the Parker School Committee hosted at the Park Gym last night.
Opening the meeting Silliman spoke about the committee looking for creative ideas for the building, pointing at two sides of the gym, one side having paper for residents to write on what they would like to see the former school become and on the other side, what they opposed.
The Parker School Committee has met three times so far after the City of Cortland put out a Request for Proposals after the proposal from the Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Service faced backlash from residents.
Silliman continued on saying that the committee has been looking at the need the City of Cortland has for daycare, using the building space for non-profit organizations, and more. Multiple agencies as well as private developers have toured the building she said as well as BOCES.
An idea that was brought up was to convert the building into a business incubator, similar to that of Salt City Market in the City of Syracuse. An incubator is a type of organization that helps startup companies and individual entrepreneurs develop their businesses with access to investors, mentoring, and more.
Still though, when residents went up to speak, one thing was clear. The City of Cortland desperately needs childcare. An example given was the waiting list for daycare at SUNY Cortland is currently 5 years, with 300 names on the list. Residents were also upset on how the promises made during the previous city administration never came to fruition. Noting how when it came to vote on allowing the city to purchase the property, they were told it was going to be for childcare.
Continued conversations during the meeting brought the possibility of moving City Hall to the former school and using the current City Hall for the Police and Fire Department.
Silliman said the committee will look at all suggestions that were written down last night, and discuss them during their next meeting. Information on the Parker School Committee, including previous meeting notes, may be found HERE.