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For the past several years interest has grown among AA members in an east side clubhouse. The first annual Alcothon held at the Eastgate Holiday Inn was the spark that lit the fire
The momentum gathered from that successful Alcothon spurred on the organizers. Guidelines for organizing clubs were obtained from the New York Central Office. The Tri-County Center was selected as a model. Visits were made to the Center and a sponsorship relationship developed. Legal and financial models furnished by Tri-County were used to draft the Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws for a new center
A meeting of nine members, held at Perkins restaurant in February 1992 launched the effort. The name "Eastside Center, Inc." was selected. The "Grateful Givers" was selected as the name for encouraging contributions and membership to support the Center. Before adjourning the meeting, seven members agreed to sign as incorporators and two members were assigned as a search committee for locations. The Route 32 corridor was targeted as the most central area to concentrate the search.
Over the next two weeks, five potential properties were reviewed. Building an all new structure was explored. Renting versus owning was debated. Among the alternatives, the building at 1134 Old State Route 74 most resembled the Tri-County Center in size and layout. However, major repairs would be required and the ownership was clouded by an existing land contract held in an Estate still in Probate.
The manager and contractor from Tri-County were used as consultants to study the feasibility of this project. On March 1, 1992, a contingent contract to purchase was signed by a trustee for the Eastside Center, Inc. with the incorporation filing in process. Our Higher Power had taken charge. The series of events and circumstances of the next ninety days could be explained no other way.
A retired builder undertook the task of developing plans for rehabbing the building. The Tri-County contractor prepared cost estimates from the plans. A budget was developed using financial information supplied by Tri-County and Oak Street. A member with contracting experience became the project director and proceeded to rewire the entire building. Volunteers appeared to clean out this thoroughly trashed facility. The boarded up front window bore the number 1134 like a badge of honor.
Many generous contributions ranging from $2000 to $2 were received. Over fifty members pledged support to the Grateful Givers. The mood of the organizers ran from panic to euphoria. The traditions were proven, as problems of personalities and prestige, otherwise called ego, ran rampant.
The contract to purchase the building for $67,600 was ticking away. The prospect of finding a way to finance the purchase in time seemed dim. We became powerless over the outcome and our Higher Power delivered the required answers. The owner of the building, a neighbor and supporter, agreed to allow us to assume the land contract from the Estate. A grateful member loaned us the $15,000 required to pay off the Estate. Generous contributions of time and materials from the members in the trades soon made the building usable. The doors opened for business within three weeks following the closing of the land contract. A new roof was installed in an 18 hour blitz. Many AA groups purchased tables and chairs for the meeting rooms. A cooler was donated by the owner of Perkins. The coffee equipment was supplied by a member in the business. Committees were formed, fundraisers were held ranging from picnics to yard sales to a spaghetti dinner.
The Tuesday night Mt. Carmel group was the first to move to the center. Other meetings were started immediately on other nights. The first Al-Anon meeting began within a month. Every week as members came back to meetings, the building was changing. The boarded up window was replaced and other windows installed. During the third month, two members were hired to perform the duties of manager. This includes buying supplies and cleaning the building.
By September 1992, over $10,000 had been raised and many thousands of dollars in time and materials contributed to the building. More than fifty trades people had participated and more than a hundred members had volunteered to start and attend meetings during this time. Now, The Eastside Center is in every way a reality. The building has been in full opperation for over 26 years. The work still continues and the message is always being carried. November 17, 2018, will be the Centers 26 and a half year anniversary of operations. We can only imagine what our Higher Power has in store over the next 26 years!
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