Tenants Find Moving Hard as Building is Sold

By Megan Goldschmidt and Brandon Doyle

Mar. 26, 2012

The Women’s Community Building will meet it’s fate with a wrecking ball this May, and the employees of 2-1-1 Tompkins, one of the 13 non-profit tenants of the building, hope their phone lines don’t get knocked out as well. 

The Women's Community Building will be knocked down on May 16, 2012.

“We’re hoping that we won’t have any down time, the technical details of how that’s going to happen have yet to be figured out,” said Edward Swayze, Program Director at 2-1-1.

The program, who’s resided in the Women’s Community building since 1998, is a telephone information service that connects people in need in Tompkins County with services designed to address that problem. They are being forced to move as the building changes hands.

“When we knew we were going to have to move away from here, we thought, well where are we going to find somewhere so centrally located, and it hasn’t been particularly easy to find space that we could afford and people could still get to us easily,” Swayze said.

Fran Spadafora Manzella, Call Center Manager at 2-1-1, said it’s not just a center that answers calls, but people actually know where 2-1-1 is and come in with questions.
“The building means a lot to people and the local organizations that use that auditorium; it will be missed.”

Janis Graham, President of HEARTS’ CRY, a non-profit that provides financial help to impoverished families in Mattampally, India, knows firsthand that its hard to find space.
“HEARTS’ CRY is a little not for profit that sends children to school in India. We don’t want to spend money on office space,” said Graham.

Graham, also President of the Board of Directors of City Federation of Women’s Organization, said the CFWO, who owns the building, became a landlord to the non-profits, which wasn’t the initial mission of the organization, and money to fund the budget just wasn’t available anymore. When it was clear they had to sell, Graham took the offer exclusively to Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, a 35-year-old non-profit organization.

The building was a women’s dormitory in the 60’s, and Jody Vander Yacht, Director of Community Relations at INHS thinks there is a certain synchronicity that Breckenridge Place, a 50-unit low-income housing apartment building, will replace the Women’s Community building.

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