Easton Community Center
New year 2003 saw the fulfillment of a dream as the residents of Easton received a gift they had long yearned for. The new Easton Community Center was dedicated January 12, 2003 – the dream had become a reality. The opening was the result of years of hard work, planning, fundraising, discussion, negotiation, and finally, accomplishment. The dream of such a facility began in the 1960′s with the Larson family, long-standing Easton residents, who recognized the need for a place where young people could gather, socialize, and be appropriately supervised. After years proclaiming such a need, the project gain momentum in 1996 when the Larson’s approached Tony Colonnese, Easton’s First Selectman at the time, with the idea of using part of an existing facility (the second floor of the old firehouse) as a Teen Center. Largely due to safety concerns, this facility was not deemed useable, so in 1997 the Larson’s offered a gift of one million dollars to build an entirely new structure to be used primarily for the youth of Easton. Tony Colonnese called on persons interested in the youth of our community and a group was formed to make plans and outline the specific uses of the facility. Led by Bruce Debow and ably supported by his wife Agnus, Edward Burger, Cyndi Blum, Tony Colonnese, Marty Wolf and Dorothy Larson to name a few, a team was formed to keep the project moving and put into place the necessary elements for success. Their goal was, firstly, to build and operate the facility through private contributions and program income. Secondly, a commitment was made to raise an endowment to help sustain it. The Easton Community Center was established as a 501C(3) organization allowing contributors to benefit from gift tax advantages, and soon after, the first fundraising appeal was launched. A site for the building was determined by the Town of Easton consisting of 2.5 acres adjacent to Veteran’s Field. A lease was established securing the land for the next 100 years. The planning process included studies to ascertain the needs of Easton’s youth. Friar Associates of Farmington were engaged as the projects architects and Primrose Construction of Bridgeport were awarded the general contract. The Groundbreaking Ceremony took place in September 2001 as work continued on obtaining town approvals, Board development and fundraising. Kind gifts and personal contributions of labor and materials kept construction moving along while reducing expenses. Connecticut Legislators, John Mc Kinney and John Stripp were instrumental in obtaining a state grant of $200,000 which was approved in March 2002. In July 2002 the Board of Directors hired a facility director to oversee the development of the facility and its programs towards being a positive community asset for Easton. The Easton Community Center is now open and will strive to provide “cultural, educational, and social opportunities” for the children, teens, and adults of the greater Easton community. This will be achieved through the design, development and implementation of innovative and high quality programs and services that will enhance the mental and physical well being of all who make use of the center.