A project to expand a community center in a neighborhood on Binghamton's North Side is on hold.

Graffiti mars the building named in memory of a Binghamton police officer killed in the line of duty. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

Construction work at the Lee Barta Community Center on Liberty Street has yet to begin.

When the $450,000 project was announced last November, the larger facility was expected to be ready for use this fall. But the actual opening date now is uncertain because no contract has been awarded for the expansion.

Mayor Richard David on Tuesday said when the city sought bids for the project, "it came in slightly over budget." He said a second bidding process was initiated and he expects a contract will be awarded "shortly."

Speaking on WNBF Radio's Binghamton Now program, David said activities that had taken place at the community center were temporarily moved to another location.

The mayor said he expected the cost of the project would exceed $450,000 but "not much over that."

David said he now anticipates ground will be broken at the site sometime this fall. He said the larger community center should be ready for use by the end of this year or early next year.

The center is named in memory of Binghamton Police Officer Lee Barta, who died in the line of duty in August 1995.

A lot next to the community center was cleared for the expansion project last January. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

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