Community Update May 5, 2017

It’s been 5 months since the fire in our JCC building disrupted and displaced our community. So much has happened during those months and we have finally reached a pivotal moment in our process.

To recap about the building:

  • Fire broke out in the men’s spa sauna on December 5, 2016
  • 350 people were brought to safety with the help of our dedicated staff team, first responders and the help and support of our neighbor, Brookdale Senior Living
  • Servpro was hired immediately to clean, remediate and ready the building for construction
  • Servpro concluded their work toward the end of March
  • Additional significant HVAC repairs were conducted through April

To recap about the process:

  • A community planning facilitator spent several days conducting focus groups asking three questions: Should we return to the building as it was?  Should it be reimagined in an economically sustainable way? Should we consider an out of the box approach?
  • Following that process and given the consensus for the latter two approaches, two task forces were created to examine the best approaches to remaining and if we were to think out of the box, what would or should that look like
  • Colliers International was hired to assist in the process to hire an architect
  • Architectural firms are in the process of submitting proposals
  • An emailed community survey was sent to provide more information to the task forces. It ran for 4 days and garnered 800 responses
  • A Jewish Community Town Hall was held on April 26 to provide a forum for more community input into the process

Next steps:

  • On Wednesday, May 10, the final meeting of the “Shark Tank” process will commence where each task force will have the opportunity to present their findings and recommendations
  • Members of the boards of the Jewish Federation, Foundation and JCC will be in attendance
  • On Wednesday, May 17, at a special meeting of the Jewish Federation, the recommended proposal by the Shark Tank will be discussed and voted upon
  • Efforts are currently underway to expedite the return to use of the pool and racquetball courts as early in June as possible
    • An ADA compliant pathway must be constructed from the parking lot to the outside pool door
    • Electrical work must be completed in that area
    • Fire safety repairs must be completed
    • Access to limited shower and toilet facilities must be enabled
    • Barriers to areas beyond the pool and racquetball must be constructed

It is important to note that pool and racquetball access was requested by many through the survey and at the town hall.  That message was received loud and clear and we are doing our very best to be accommodating.  This could not be possible without the guidance of the Woodbridge Town Zoning Officer, Terry Gilbertson.

Please make note:

  • JCC Camp will be open and better than ever on its campsite at 360 Amity Road!!
  • JCC President, Scott Hurwitz and JCC Vice President, Jeff Sklarz will be holding monthly open forums for community members to ask questions and give feedback.  The next session will be:
    • May 19, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. at the JCC Fitness Center on Research Drive, Woodbridge

I am looking forward to sharing a community message with you after the May 17, meeting and of course you are all invited to the Jewish Federation, Foundation and JCC Annual Meeting on June 7, at Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy at 7:00 p.m., where we will present many awards including the Eisner Community Service Award which will honor our first responders, community partners and special volunteers.

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