The plight of the former Irondequoit Mall has become a part of our town’s story, even if we didn’t ask for it to be. Indeed, the property represents some of our fondest memories as well as a symbol of adversity over the past two decades.
I am proud to live in a community that has stood strong during the darkest hours of the former mall. Despite this hovering albatross, the finest assets of Irondequoit — our beautiful neighborhoods, quality schools and strong sense of community - have allowed us to rise above these challenges.
With that sense of perseverance in mind, we have spent the past 18 months putting together a proposal for the people of Irondequoit to consider which would effectively allow us to help write a new story for the former-mall, now Skyview on the Ridge. Recently, the Town Board finalized plans for a new 41,000-square-foot community center for the town of Irondequoit, one that would provide an amenity for our community that has long been missing.
On July 30, the people of Irondequoit will have an opportunity to take part in a townwide referendum to authorize the issuance of $7.25 million in bond financing which is necessary for the project to proceed. For the average property owner in Irondequoit, the impact of this borrowing would amount to about $1.41 a month.
The new center will help further facilitate the growth of our recreation department, whose only barrier to increased programming is a lack of space. The new center would include many active recreation elements you would find at a YMCA, while also providing additional space for multi-generational programming, from toddlers to senior citizens and everyone in between. We will have additional community rooms, digital gaming space for our teens and dedicated space for our police department to work from.
I recently took a tour of the demised space for the center, which would be on the northern side of the mall. I stood in the former Altier’s Shoes, remembering how I used to hate having to wear dress shoes, and imagined adult residents playing pickle-ball in one half of the gymnasium that would sit in that spot, and youth playing a game of basketball on the other half of the gym. I looked up to the second story of the concourse and imagined the elevated walking track that would allow residents to beat the winter blues.
Our new town library proved that we can have the sort of first-class amenities in Irondequoit of which we’d always dreamt. Our goal should always be to build a community that will outlast us, one that we can see future generations enjoying and keeping Irondequoit an amazing community. This proposal has that goal in mind. Let’s continue to prove to the rest of the region that the people of Irondequoit are willing to stare down our largest challenges, meet them head on and emerge an even stronger community.
We are planning at least two community forums for residents to learn more about the proposal, one of which will likely be at the former-mall. In the interim, I invite all residents to visit irondequoitcommunitycenter.com for information on the plan.