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Colonie - Local leaders celebrate Ciccotti Center

There was one piece missing in Rudy A. Ciccotti's life.

He always wanted a child.

Without one, the retired businessman and active philanthropist has dedicated mush of his time and money to causes and facilities that benefit children.

On Tuesday, July 24, Ciccotti, state and local leaders gathered to revel in the generosity Ciccotti extended to the Colonie Youth Center last year, The Rudy A. Ciccotti Family Recreational Center.

Ciccotti has put up $1 million of his own money to help build the center. It was something he always wanted to do for children and as a gesture of thanks to the town. Last week he gathered everyone who had a hand in the development of the center and personally thanked them.

The truth of the matter is I made my fortune here in the town of Colonie. I returned the favor. It's my way of saying thank you to the town, said Ciccotti.

He said the Ciccotti Center turned out better then he could have hoped. And it is rapidly drawing in the maximum number of family memberships, set at 4,000.

When he sees the children swimming at the center's vast aquatic complex it inspires and "picks him up," he said.

Ciccotti made his fortune through various nightclubs and banquet halls such as Michael's Banquet House in Latham throughout the years before he sold his investments and retired. Because of his work, he never married and never had children.

Last month, Ciccotti turned over a $500,000 check to the center, on top of the $500,000 initial investment he made in it in the fall of 2005.

Since breaking ground in September 2005, donations and membership dues have paid off $5 million of the facility's $12 million price tag. The center has been gradually chipping away at that number as memberships reached 3,300 this summer and nearly 650 people a day frequent the center.

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