by Gail P. Montany
The Aug. 1 deadline for New Move Adult Day Services to relocate from its current home at Catamount Arts is looming large and Director Faye Kass says she is frustrated with the slow progress in getting the necessary renovations done.
With less than a month to go, New Move still needs to knock out a couple of walls, install special doors, hook up plumbing to create a kitchen, and make a handicapped exit with a wooden ramp at the new, much larger facility at 88 Portland St. in St. Johnsbury
Kass said a number of local businesses and contractors assured her certain supplies could be donated and that the carpentry, plumbing and other work would be done by the Aug. 1 opening at a minimal cost or no cost. Assuming the business owners would follow through on their earlier good will, Kass went ahead with steps to secure the building, contacting the state Labor and Industry Department and the St. Johnsbury Fire Department and signing a lease with building owner Fred Bona.
But when it came down to getting the goods and the work, Kass said, much of the good will evaporated in a miasma of unreturned phone calls and halfkept promises.
"I've been going really nuts," said Kass last week when the situation looked its gloomiest.
This week, the situation ~ooks brighter. Rescue came this week in the form of Watefford building contractor Scott Hooker, who has agreed to help coordinate the renovation effort by contacting subcontractors.
Hooker said although summer is the heart of the season for most contractors and everyone is busy, the project is still doable with cooperation from all.
"She's trying to pull together many phases of construction, with no experience," said Hooker. "If people come through like they're supposed to, it could get done. It will be very close; it's a short time frame ... and regular subcontractors are buried in work right now."
The initial rejection from some business owners may have been the result of New Move's efforts to get the work done for less than $1,000. What the new location has going for it, Hooker noted, is the expected ease with which the space can be made accessible.
Ron Noble of Noble's Plumbing and Heating has agreed to visit the site today to determine what has to be done and the Caledonia Community Work Camp will provide inmates to perform the bulk of the labor.
A local hardware store has donated a sink, a plumbing supply business has come through with three smoke alarms, and Central Vermont Public Service Corp. has provided a used water heater. A recent fund-raising effort aimed at local businesses netted $400, including a $250 donation from Hitchiner Manufacturing of Littleton, N.H., said Kass.
Many other items are still needed, said Kass, including windows, tables, chairs, a refrigerator, and cabinets. A local glass company is looking for some windows to donate.
Still, the organization is under a tremendous time crunch to meet the Aug. 1 deadline, even under the best circumstances.
"I'm under an incredible deadline," said Kass. "If it doesn't come by Aug. 1, we have no program. It has to happen."
New Move, a nonprofit organization with four staff members, gets 30-40 percent of its $100,000 budget from the state. The program provides a variety of on-site, all-day activities for the 18 to 25 elderly people who participate on a sliding fee schedule from no cost to $35 a day. What money the state does not provide is raised by donations.
"It's the community's program," said Kass. "We have a unique group of people here."