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Contractor selected for Urban Mission renovation

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The Watertown Urban Mission moved closer to its $2 million capital campaign goal Saturday night at the Savory Downtown, 300 Washington St., where organization members and donors came together to celebrate the success of the campaign.

The capital campaign was organized to raise money to renovate its 247 Factory St. location and, according to campaign co-chairman John W. Deans, the organization will meet its $2 million goal by the end of the month.

According to both Mr. Deans and communications department co-chairman Brian E. Ashley, the organization originally projected at the beginning of the campaign in March that it would take until the end of 2014 to reach the $2 million goal.

Currently the mission has raised $1,902,500 toward the goal.

Although the campaign to likely to reach its target 11 months early, the renovation plans are already up and running.

It was announced that Continental Construction Company, Gouverneur, will be doing the renovations.

“So many dreams are going to be built,” Mr. Ashley said.

The process to choose Continental Construction was not an easy one, said Bernie Brown, manager of the renovation project.

The process started with what Mr. Brown called a “quality-based selection process.” After the potential companies were narrowed down to four, each company was asked to submit a sealed proposal and a presentation to the mission. Only after viewing all four presentations was the proposal read.

“All could have done a wonderful job,” said Mr. Brown. “I wish we could have hired all four.”

Renovations will be done to the former site of Halley Electric Co. to add handicapped access to bathrooms and exits, complete electrical work, add new heating, insulation, ceiling tiles, carpet and windows, and make the building more energy efficient.

Confidential rooms for the Critical Needs Program will also be built. The program handles those who need immediate assistance.

Money also will be used to improve and expand the floor space of the Impossible Dream Thrift Store, also at 247 Factory St.

In addition to the Critical Needs Program and thrift store, the mission, which has been in operation since the late 1960s, also has a food pantry that the mission said is the second-busiest food pantry in central and Northern New York. The mission also runs the Bridge Program, which provides help to those facing jail time for drug or alcohol offenses; Hearth II, which helps to obtain housing for the homeless or those close to homelessness; and the Christian Care Center, a service for fulfilling spiritual needs.

A portion of the capital campaign money will also go toward an endowment for the mission administered by the Northern New York Community Foundation.

“Your investment today will have an impact for a lifetime,” Mr. Ashley said.

Surrounded by food, drink and lively conversation, it might have appeared that the campaign had reached its victorious end.

But Mr. Deans said there is still much ahead.

More donations keep coming in and, though he would not elaborate on any details, Mr. Deans said “something good will happen this week” and he was confident that the goal would not only be reached but surpassed.

“It was truly a great success,” said Mr. Deans. “This was truly a great opportunity to help a great campaign.”

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