Wednesday's schedule was packed with positive news from Ben Lindquist and the Chautauqua Striders board of directors.
Prior to a celebration at Diethrick Park commemorating the organization's 35-year presence in Jamestown, Lindquist, the organization's executive director, announced Chautauqua Striders will soon make a new home in the Lynn Building at 301 E. Second St., with hopes to be fully relocated by January 2015.
The decision to make the move from YMCA at 101 E. Fourth St. comes on the heels of a four-year search for additional space, said Lindquist, who became executive director in 2013.
Chautauqua Striders announced Wednesday that it will join Infinity Performing Arts in the Lynn Building downtown.
P-J file photo
by Gavin Paterniti
"I inherited a facility search that was about 3 years old and made that one of my top priorities for this year - to determine if a new facility was needed," he said, adding that Infinity Visual and Performing Arts will also be moving to the same floor of the Lynn Building later this year.
"This is a new opportunity for us to collaborate and come up with some new ideas and programming going forward," Lindquist said.
Striders' new location on the ground floor of the Lynn Building will provide roughly 2,000 square feet of additional space for Striders.
"We intend to increase traffic and the number of students who seek tutoring and academic help after school each day," Lindquist said, adding that the organization plans to host a number of new community academic programs in the fall. "Now, being across the street from Jamestown High School, we hope it will be a more visible location to the general community and public."
Before the move, Lindquist said demolition work is necessary at the new location and the work will begin as early as next week.
"We have to do some cosmetic work, but the majority of our space can be used in much of the same layout it's currently at," he said, adding that 1,500 square feet of space will be used for tutoring at Striders' new site.
A 10-year lease is expected to be finalized in the days to come, with two additional five-year option terms.
The terms will be similar to Infinity's lease, which was signed just over two weeks ago.
Chautauqua Striders is dedicated to the mentoring and guidance of youth through education, advocacy, and athletics.
"The Striders board of directors is excited to announce our plans to relocate Striders services to the Lynn Building," said Ellen Ditonto, board president. "This decision, approved unanimously by the board, was based on extensive research by two executive directors and a dedicated group of volunteers who make up the board's Facilities Committee. The full board met and approved the plans today and we will start immediately on the renovation work that is expected to take several months."
Since it was founded in 1979, Striders has grown into a community organization, providing tutoring, mentoring, outreach and athletic programs to more than 1,800 Chautauqua County youth annually.
For more than 25 years, Striders has operated at the YMCA with a goal to inspire youth with the knowledge, skills and confidence required for successful college and career experiences.