After months of open community debate, the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven has decided to return to its 360 Amity Rd. home along with the Jewish Community Center after the complex is rebuilt following last December’s fire.
(Click here to read a recent story about a public event at which community members debated whether to do that or to create a less centralized “hub and spoke” system in the region.)
Following is the text of an email message sent by the Federation’s leaders Thursday afternoon to community members:
The Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven unanimously voted to return to the Jewish community building at 360 Amity Road last night. This decision followed an expedited planning process, which included:
Community Online Survey
Community Town Hall Forum with Facebook Live
“Shark Tank” task force planning process
The dedicated work of many volunteers is to highly commendable and enabled us to reach this first step. We also wish to thank our passionate community members who took the time to write, call and visit to express their deep concerns and love for our JCC.
While we have been working to remediate the building, conduct the planning process and continue to provide quality programs and services across the Jewish Federation, Foundation and JCC enterprise, we have also been working to move the process to enable action as soon as the decision occurred.
It is important to note that due to insurance processes, the timeline is often not in our control.
As updated in prior communications, the damage to the building from the fire was extensive. Like is often the case with large projects, each time we believe we have checked something of the list to move forward, monkeys jump in to throw wrenches. So, we would like to lay out our anticipated next steps and timeline with the caveat that this is not definite.
Our goal is to reclaim portions of the building and our operations in stages. Beginning this summer:
JCC camp will open on the campsite at 360 Amity Road
Camp will have access to the upstairs portion of the building that includes the auditorium and nearby meeting rooms for rainy and extra-hot day activities as those areas were lightly affected by the fire and required nothing more than a deep cleaning
The Marcia and Stanley F. Reiter Swimming Pool and adjacent racquetball courts and playscape are expected to reopen by the end of June. This will accommodate displaced swimmers who are losing their current locations due to summer programs and provide pool space for recreational use and camp use on rainy days. However, please note what must be accomplished in order to gain town permission to operate:
Continuing smoke/smell issues must be remediated in the wet corridor
A pathway must be constructed leading from the side parking lot to the exterior pool doors
Temporary walls must be constructed to segment the wet corridor
A rinse shower in the wet corridor near the gym must be installed
The family changing room ceiling must be installed
The ceiling in the portion of the wet corridor must be installed
Electrical work must be completed
Fire alarm systems must be completed
Grill & Chills are planned for and will happen on the patio or adjacent locations at 360 Amity Road
Touch-a-Truck on June 4th will occur in the parking lot at 360 Amity Road
Yeladim- the JCC childcare, preschool and kindergarten program’s location remains a priority. We are looking at ways to expedite the return of the school to the building as quickly and safely as possible. There are renovations intended for Yeladim classrooms and school will reopen once construction in that wing has been completed. Information will be provided to Yeladim families to keep them current as we move forward.
A request for proposals was sent to architects interested in bidding on the project. The deadline for submission is today. The building committee will review the proposals, conduct interviews and then make a selection quickly. Once selected, the architect will work with us to select a general contractor and the project plan and timeline will be set. Progress reports and photos will be shared on our websites so community members can follow along.
We want to thank all of you, our Jewish community, for patience during these extraordinary circumstances. At the Jewish Federation, Foundation and JCC annual meeting on June 7th at 7 pm at Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy in Orange, we will celebrate the many people and organizations who came together to support our community during the past year. We hope that you will join us to cheer extra loudly as we recognize the first responders, town officials, synagogues, agencies and individuals who ran to the rescue on December 5th and have continued to do so.