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CLEANUP ALLOWS WORK TO RESUME AT SENIOR CENTER

Contamination cleanup at the site of the new Aurora Senior Citizens Center is expected to be completed today, and town officials are hopeful the renovation project will be back on track and finished by mid-July.

Construction manager Richard Glover, whom the town hired to oversee the project, told Aurora Town Board members Monday night that remediation of paint- and petroleum-based contamination at the site at 587 Oakwood Ave. is almost done.

"I'm very pleased with the work that's been done. It has been very thorough and professional," Glover said in an update to the Town Board. "The building will get a clean bill of health."

The Senior Citizens Center has faced several setbacks -- chief among them the contamination discovered by contractors working in the building last August -- that have postponed its opening initially targeted for last fall.

Cleanup work at the building, which was a former auto body collision shop, began last Tuesday by Benchmark Environmental Engineering & Science, the Buffalo environmental engineering consultant hired by the village to analyze the contamination and also handle remediation.

The village bought the building and is leasing much of it to the town for senior services and an adult day care center. In addition, the Fire Department and emergency medical services will use a 3,000-square-foot portion of the building.

Glover last week met with town contractors on the project to line up a schedule for them to return to work after remediation is wrapped up. He said they anticipate completing the job by the end of June or mid-July.

"That's going to be a good effort on the part of the contractors to get it done by then," Glover said.

To date, the general contractor work on the center is 44 percent complete; heating and air conditioning, 68 percent done; and electrical and plumbing work, 30 percent to 35 percent finished.

However, substantial work already has been done at the building, including a new roof and new steel work. "We're on the downside of work that can be done pretty rapidly," Glover said, noting that much of the major work has been completed.

The town last year had to extend its lease to rent the old senior center at 641 Oakwood Ave. once delays kept postponing the new one.

The extended lease, at $1,250 per month, runs through June 30. Supervisor Thomas Cotton later said the town could request an additional month's extension, if necessary, until the new building is complete.

Meanwhile, plans are under way to start serving a senior lunch program at the new center in July and August. Recreation Director Peggy Cooke said lunches will be served this summer during what typically is a slower period to allow for the kitchen to become fully adjusted by September, when the demand will be greater.

Erie County officials plan to reduce the number of lunches offered to 20 per day from the usual 25 during the start-up period, she said.

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