Marcia Rothenberg has fond memories of Springfield Gardens. As a kid, she used to swim in the pool with friends, and as she got older, she would go running with her dad and they'd take shortcuts through the neighborhood. So when a request came through to help fund the David G. Klim Learning and Recreation Center, her family's foundation was eager to help.
"It was nice to get a request for something that we have an emotional attachment to," Rothenberg said. "We felt really good about helping do this."
The center is named to honor the former Onondaga County Family Court Judge David Klim who died in 2006. The facility houses People in Action which is a community enrichment program, and includes classrooms for preschool and afterschool tutoring, art education and computer classes. Other programs scheduled for expansion include adult literacy classes, GED preparation and job candidate coaching.
So what would Judge Klim think of the center?
"He'd be delighted," said his widow Barbara who was re-elected in November as the DeWitt Town Clerk. "Our children actually had him involved in volunteering here before he died and they complained about how inadequate the facilities were. So this is something he'd be delighted to see."
Previously, kids gathered in the apartment basements without any heat or ventilation in some of the rooms, said Mike Moracco, PIA program coordinator.
"We moved from there to working out of apartments," he said. "The apartments were small and tight and we'd have to rotate kids in."
Currently there are about 40 students involved in the afterschool program, Morocco said, with increased enrollment in the preschool program as well as with its senior opportunities. Additionally, all programs are open to everyone in the community who need help or assistance.
"We're here to really serve everyone within our community the best we can with the area we've got," Moracco said.