News

Pecor Family makes $500,000 gift to Old North End Community Center Campaign

Posted on Friday, April 05, 2019, by Chris Donnelly

A $500,000 gift has been pledged by Trey & Dominique Pecor to the Old North End Community Center Campaign, campaign committee Chair Peter Clavelle announced today.

“This is a very significant pledge of support – the largest in the campaign. This generosity will support generations of people from Burlington and beyond gain access to programs that build community and support our basic needs,” said Clavelle, a volunteer leading the campaign.

HERE'S HOW YOU CAN GIVE.

The Champlain Housing Trust purchased the former St. Joseph School on Allen Street in Burlington to create Old North End Community Center in July, 2017. The organization has secured funding to make initial improvements to the building – such as adding an elevator to make it accessible, the installation of a new commercial kitchen and expanded parking – while seeking permanent financing and capital campaign contributions to make more significant renovations to the Center.

“For me, supporting such a great community building was a no-brainer,” explained Trey and Dominique Pecor in a statement. “Our family has enjoyed the benefits of this City and region immensely and for the two of us it’s really a privilege to be in a position to give back in this way.”

With the pledge from the Pecors, the campaign has raised $2 million and is turning to the community to raise the last $200,000. The gym in the center of the building will be named “The Pecor Family Gymnasium and Performance Hall.”

“The Old North End Community Center is a wonderful new resource for the Old North End and the entire city. I have believed in this project from the start, and I am excited to see the next phase in its evolution. Thank you to Trey and Dominique for giving a critical boost to this community effort,” Mayor Miro Weinberger added.

While the building is solid, CHT must invest in upgrading heating and cooling, new wiring, windows, and water systems, including sprinklers. The building serves an estimated 4,000 people a year through the programs of the tenants including The Family Room, Robin’s Nest Children’s Center, AALV and the Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Department – as well as a variety of community events in the building. The Parks Department also runs senior center activities and leases space to others such as Very Merry Theatre and the City and Lake Semester program.

“We now turn our sights to raising the remaining $200,000 and closing on our permanent financing,” added Brenda Torpy, CHT’s CEO. “I thank Trey and Dominique, the many other donors that have already supported this vision, and all the volunteers that have made gifts and given their time thus far. The community has been so generous so far, and I know they’ll be there with us to finish up the campaign for such a great community resource.”

For more information about giving, call Chris Donnelly at the Housing Trust at 861-7305.



CHT Buys St. Joseph School

Posted on Monday, July 31, 2017, by Chris Donnelly

The Champlain Housing Trust announced today that it has purchased the St. Joseph School on Allen Street in the Old North End from the St. Joseph Co-Cathedral Parish Charitable Trust for $2.15 million. The acquisition was made with plans to transform the building into a multi-purpose community center serving not only the residents of the neighborhood, but the rest of Burlington and greater region.

“This is a major milestone in our plans to create a home for so many critical programs serving such a diversity of people,” said Brenda Torpy, CEO of the Champlain Housing Trust. “We’re looking forward to the next phases of activity and renovation, to fully breathe new life into what will become a great community resource. We deeply appreciate working with both the Parish and Roman Catholic Diocese of Vermont in this transaction.”

To make the building accessible and serve immediate needs, CHT has already installed a new elevator and is putting in a commercial kitchen. Facilitating the purchase and these renovations was bridge financing from the Vermont Community Loan Fund ($2.3 million) and a charitable investment by the Vermont Community Foundation ($500,000).

The loan from the Vermont Community Loan Fund is the largest in its history.

“We are very excited to be underwriting CHT’s efforts to create a community center in Burlington’s Old North End,” said Will Belongia, Executive Director of the Loan Fund. “They have been such a strong and steady partner over the years, and the vision that they brought forward of creating a vibrant center made this an easy project to want to be involved with.”

“As we think about our mission, we know that projects like the purchase and renovation of the St. Joseph School is integral to the health and vitality of Vermont communities,” said Dan Smith, CEO and President of the Foundation. “This new community center will bring together thousands of Vermonters, young Vermonters and older ones, new citizens and longtime ones. We’re looking forward to seeing this building flourish in the coming years.”

An additional $7 million is being sought from a variety of sources as long term equity and financing, and for needed renovations including new heating and cooling, windows, electric and plumbing, technology and energy efficiency improvements.

Existing tenants – Robin’s Nest Children’s Center, Association of Africans Living in Vermont, and the Family Room – approached CHT two years ago when the school was put on the market. CHT agreed to look at purchasing and renovating the building, and the community center concept gelled when the City of Burlington’s Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Department expressed interest in renting a significant portion of the building. The BPRW Department has begun to move their programs into the building and will be subleasing space to other programs or organizations in addition to using it for their own offerings.

At this point, until the remaining resources are secured, further renovations are on hold. You can follow the project's progress on Twitter: @StJoesONE.


Impact of Housing on Kids and Education

Posted on Tuesday, September 02, 2014, by Chris Donnelly

Student Writing.jpg

new paper was released today that highlights the intersection of affordable housing and education, and the benefits that an affordable home provides kids in terms of their ability to learn in school. In the report, Rebecca Haslam, an elementary school teacher, is quoted saying, "Kids experiencing housing challenges feel disconnected from their communities, which is even more damaging to their ability to access the academics... they're just not ready." 

 Housing and Education: Putting the Pieces Together is the first in a series of papers on the value affordable housing offers the people and communities across the State of Vermont. For more information, contact Chris Donnelly at the Champlain Housing Trust or Kenn Sassorossi at Housing Vermont.  

(Photo credit: CC image Student Writing 2002 by cybrarian77 on Flickr)