What are the unmet needs in our community? Are there services we used to have but donít have now? Are there programs other communities have but we donít?
Until recently we might have said that we used to have Community Players and now we donít. But we do have a resurgent group or troupe of players. That they are joining forces with the Potter Players is all to the good, it seems to me. Talent there, talent here, a wider audience or multiple audiences, greater capabilities, broader base. Things look promising.
Similar hopeful possibilities were at the heart of the decision to throw in the lot of Port Allegany Community Hospital with Charles Cole Memorial Hospital.
Broader base. Larger catchment area. Better funding base. Larger facility, growth potential, borrowing ability, revenues, grant eligibility, ability to attract and retain staff. Port Allegany area was lucky to be allowed to hand over its hospital and become a part of the CCMH family.
Offices and services at the local health center seem to be well utilized. There is talk (conflicting reports, coming to this office) concerning a possible expansion. The fitness center is a happening place, I understand. Part of the former PACH is home to Maple Manor. Well and good.
This community was promised that we would always be part of CCMH and would always be represented. And there seem to be Port Alleganians on the board. CCMH picks them.
And people can join CCMHís membership during a certain enrollment period every summer, upon payment of dues. I donít know what all that entitles people toówhat meetings members attend. Not board meetings, apparently, and those are where things are decided.
Port Allegany Community Hospital had many members: adult residents of its service area. They did not have to pay dues, but they could attend the annual membership meeting and vote, and they could elect officers and directors by direct vote. Mambers heard annual reports and adopted a budget. I believe they usually met in the social room of the United Methodist Church.
All CCMH board meetings were open to the members and to the public and press. I attended those meetings as routinely as I attended school board meetings.
Last I heard, CCMH does not allow public and press to attend its board meetingsónor rank and file, dues paying members. Iíd love to learn that I am mistaken, or that things are done in an open manner. Itís hard to imagine good reasons for secrecy concerning hospital business, especially a nonprofit one that seeks charitable contributions and government support, and is tax exempt. If CCMH has subsumed our community hospital, we might be forgiven for wishing for the open governance that used to be a hallmark of PACH.
Without PACH, we donít have the annual hospital benefit Snow Ball or Valentine Ball that used to be held hereóat the Moose, I think. The social event of the season!
We used to have a Chamber of Commerce, and an Economic Development Corporation, and a Revitalization group. What is their status now? Have all carried out their dissolution plans, as specified in their bylaws? Or do we still have some ambitions for economic development, commerce and vitality?
We have had youth centers or teen centers, in the past. There is some funding now for youth recreation, through the United Fund. Can some of the (oddly named, but well motivated) Youth Counselors funding help establish a teen center? Can one of the empty spaces in the south block of the business section be put to use for a good purpose? Or will another suitable place be found?
Years ago there was a good second hand furniture store here. Remember Danny Wengarís? Tommy Moultonís? Well, that was a while back. But I hear we have one now, in the Sud Shop building. I canít wait to check it out.
Whatís your list? What donít we have that we used to? What do we lack that we could and should have, in the community?