Watertown property owner looks to donate building to help combat homelessness

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 1:49 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - A Watertown businessman and property owner thinks he has a solid answer to helping solve the area’s homelessness problem, and he’s willing to donate a building to do so.

Dick Alexander bought the former Globe Mini Mall in October 2020 for $85,000. Since then, he’s invested to gut the building and remove all asbestos. It’s 30,000 square feet.

Alexander had been watching reports on 7 News and has seen the challenges of helping the homeless population. Now, he’s willing to donate the former Globe Mini Mall to the Urban Mission.

“I really didn’t have a path for the building,” he said. “Everyone is talking about the homelessness and the people who need help, and they’re going to make this street beautiful. The building is a little out of the downtown area, maybe it can be a perfect place for everyone to gather. Not only homeless, but mental health. Get as many people together to help as many as the disadvantaged that we can.”

He said to make it happen though, more people need to come to the table.

“I would like to help the city of Watertown, the county, the state, anybody it can. But I would like to help the disadvantaged and homeless,” Alexander said.

The 88-year-old believes by donating the building he can help more people, than if he were to hang onto the building for himself.

Alexander says he has been a Rotarian for more than 70 years, and he believes in the motto “service before self.”

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