The Austintown Senior Center kitchen will shortly be able to handle larger crowds with the addition of kitchen equipment from the closed Davis Elementary School. The commercial grade equipment will expand the possibilities for the kitchen and may even bring in funding.
"Once we have the kitchen set up, we will be able to hold more social gatherings, fundraising events and even cooking classes," said the center's program director Kay Lavelle.
Lavelle, who had operated a restaurant named Stefano's in Cortland and Newton Falls, knows her way around a commercial kitchen and knows the value of the equipment from Davis. She said the center is paying the school district $1,100 for the equipment that includes three stainless steel tables for food preparation, a 30-gallon steam kettle, a commercial blender, and several other pieces of equipment that will enhance the kitchen at the center.
Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Austintown Township Park employees Tex Martin and Gabe Daugherty prepare to move one of several stainless steel countertops to the Senior Center on Thursday, April 12. The kitchen furniture and equipment was a special purchase from the former Davis Elementary School.
"They are getting some nice commercial stuff," said Austintown School District's Supervisor of Operations and Facilities Mal Culp.
He said the district was able to sell the Senior Center the kitchen equipment from the closed elementary school as a very reasonable price. Lavelle said the steam cooker alone would be double or more of what was paid for everything.
Besides the kitchen equipment, Culp said the district was able to help out in other ways by providing computer desks, filing cabinets and partitions. When Packard Electric closed, Culp said they put the office furniture and equipment up for auction. Culp was able to buy a lot at pennies on the dollar.
"We got 47 truckloads of furniture," Culp said. "A lot is at Fitch and AMS and the rest are being stored at Davis until the two new schools are done."
He said so much was purchased that giving some to the Senior Center was no problem.
To move the recent kitchen equipment, the township's park crew showed up with a truck and trailer and handled the heavy lifting. Lavelle said it is nice to see so many local entities working together for the common good.
Lavelle said the kitchen equipment purchase was made possible through the recent tax levy. She said the purchase will be covered once the equipment becomes operational.
"This equipment will allow us to earn money and supplement the levy money," she said.