by Lisa Tome
The Conowingo Lions Club is $50,000 closer to making Floyd Allred's dream come to fruition.
Allred, a local farmer, Lions Club, and Janes United Methodist Church member, died February 19, 2014. It had long been a goal for Allred to establish a community center in Conowingo.
Recently, the Conowingo Lions got a $50,000 donation from Brian Heinbaugh, plant general manager for Wildcat Point, and staffer Denise Piemontese, for the purpose of establishing a community center.
Conowingo Lions president Madeline Brown and Lion Jeff Coale said the community center building, which was formerly a private home, is being leased by the Lions from West Cecil Health Center. The home is at 79 Rock Springs Road and is on medical center property.
Coale said the one of the goals for the community center is to have it serve as a senior center. It will also be used by scout groups, and in the future, possibly a Boys and Girls Club. He said that from Conowingo, it takes 45 minutes for seniors to get to the Elkton Senior Center. He said the community has a real need for a place to meet.
The $50,000 from Wildcat Point is the first of three payments.
The business has committed $150,000 to the project over three years. The first installment will be used to make improvements to the building including making it handicapped accessible.
"This will truly be a community building," said Brown. "We've had a lot of help along the way. Whatever money we put into the building will be applied to the rent," said Coale, of the single story ranch house.
"We're excited about the opportunity to reach a lot more people and extend our outreach," said Brown.
The project, from the Lions Club international perspective, is a Level 3 legacy project, meaning that the club is making a positive community impact.
"This was Floyd Allred's vision, one of his passions and we're trying to carry it on," said Coale. "It will be named The Allred Center."
Heinbaugh said he is impressed by the project and that's a reason why the company is providing the support. "I appreciate what you are doing for the community. We will help whether it be with manpower or financial," said Heinbaugh. "We care about all of Cecil County, especially the community we are in."