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A total of $190,000 in donations will allow the Dublin Community Center project to move forward. Plans are for the center to open by the fall. (MEGHAN PIERCE PHOTO)

Dublin Community Center project gets financial boost

DUBLIN - Plans to convert "the heart of Dublin" into a community center recently got a financial boost of $190,000 that will help the center open by this fall in the Main Street building.

A $90,000 gift from the Dublin Community Church triggered several anonymous donors to come forward with $100,000 for the project, said Nancy Cayford, president of the Dublin Community Center's Board of Trustees.

The church donation comes with "strings attached," but the non-profit creating the center is happy to oblige, said Cayford.

"They need room for a Sunday school. So in our plans we will be building with that in mind," she said. "The plan is they will have space for their Sunday school and extra meetings, if they have any meetings during the week."

Total fundraising has reached about $500,000, Cayford said, making this second phase of the project possible.

The first phase was completed last fall and included gutting the building, removing asbestos and adding a new roof.

The Main Street building constructed in 1840 has housed Dublin's general store, telegraph office and Post Office at different points in its history. A century ago the building was referred to as "the heart of Dublin."

A group of residents concerned about the future of this building came up with the idea of renovating it to become a community center, Cayford said.

The non-profit organization they formed purchased the building in 2009 and has been fundraising ever since.

"I think this is going to be bringing vitality back to our original town center," Cayford said. "I think once it's built people are going to say, 'How did we ever get along without this project.'"

The renovation to take place this summer would create a community center on the first floor in which space can be rented out to say yoga or Zumba instructors who want to offer classes.

But more importantly, space would be available to the community if, for instance, a group of seniors want to have a morning coffee hour, or teens want to hang out with their friends in the afternoon.

The seniors would have to buy their own coffee, but the idea is to let residents use the space for free, Cayford said.

A computer room would also be made available for teens doing homework.

"My grandson said he would love a place to hang out with his friends to do some homework or play some ping pong and have a soda," Cayford said.

Third and fourth phases of the project are also planned.

First, the second floor is to be converted into two apartments.

"We are continuing fundraising. We would love to finish the apartments upstairs because that would generate income for the community center," Cayford said.

She added there is such a high demand for apartments in town there is already a waiting list for the apartments.

Building the apartments would cost about $100,000, but even less if it could be completed in conjunction with the first floor renovation, Cayford said.

The final phase would add a large room to the back of the building so that if an event is taking place in the large front room, another event or class could be held at the same time, Cayford said.


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