by Lisa Tome
It had long been Floyd Allred's dream that Conowingo would have a community center.
Now Allred's fellow members of the Conowingo Lions Club have brought that dream to fruition. Allred, a local farmer, Lions Club and Janes United Methodist Church member, died in March 2014.
In the coming weeks, the Allred Community Center, located in a former private home at the entrance to West Cecil Health, will open for business.
That business will be serving the community. The building's name will honor Allred and his wife, Lorraine, who was the longtime Colora postmaster.
The center will be open free of charge to clubs and organizations, seniors, and will also have a food pantry for those in need. Lions Club members are still working to fine tune these plans. They also hope to bring a Boys and Girls Club unit to the site.
Lions Jeff Coale, Paul McGuigan, and Bernie Brown talked about the work that went into this project. The Lions raise money to fund their projects including hosting weekly Bingo at the Rising Sun Legion. The club is leasing the building for $1,000 a month from West Cecil Health. But all the work that goes into the center is deducted from the rent. The building is fully handicapped accessible. Club members and a contractor worked to upgrade the building. The former home had to be upgraded to meet commercial structural standards.
McGuigan said the skies the limit when it comes to uses. It can be used for everything from meetings to tutoring children. The club will also maintain the building which has taken 10 months to upgrade.
"It's come a long way," said Coale.
This Lions Club is known for getting things done.
"We're too stupid to know we can't get it done," said Brown.
McGuigan said the key to success for the Lions has been developing partnerships.
The Lions, who have also partnered with others in the community to bring plans to fruition, are also responsible for the Conowingo Park and the West Cecil Health Center. Wildcat Point generation facility donated $50,000 start up money and has pledged $150,000 total to the community center.
Work remaining includes upgrading parking to about 20 spaces and installing air conditioning before the summer. There is also landscaping work to do and a large tree that needs removed.
"We'd absolutely like to see people using it. We want it to be successful," said McGuigan.
"We hope it's so successful we have to put on an addition," said Coale.
For inquiries regarding use and function of the Allred Community Center call the Lions at 410-920-8404.