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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Merry Christmas to a Remarkable Town

Two really important things happened for The Sherburne Inn in the past couple of weeks. On December 4th we (finally) got the signed contract from New York State for the 2013 grant. What this means in a nutshell is that we can (finally) begin work on the building. It was a long 358 days from the time of the announcement that we got a $500,000 grant to the actual signing of the contract, but the day (finally) came. The grant process is an arduous one, with lots of waiting and paperwork and late nights and government red tape and so on. In the end though, it's worthwhile, and we are tremendously grateful to New York State. Last year the state said they believed in the project, and said so with a promise of major funding. On December 4th they made good on that promise.
 
To clarify, that we got the contract signed doesn't mean hammers will be heard pounding at the Inn anytime soon. There are other steps to take, bid packages to get approved, planning sessions to be held, and many decisions to be made. Still, things are moving forward. Finally.
 
The second big thing to happen was that on December 11th New York State granted us yet another half million dollar economic development grant for the project. For those who are counting, that's a million dollars SSIRP is getting from the State of New York to restore and reopen The Sherburne Inn, a million dollars awarded in 12 months to the day. We don't know how long it'll take for the contract on the new grant to be signed, but that's okay. The first half million will get us started on the exterior of the building, and by the time the second contract is signed we'll be just about ready to move to restoration inside. More funds need to be raised, of course, and we'll be launching a corporate fundraising campaign in the spring. SSIRP anticipates that corporate money will start to flow now that we have New York State as our primary project funder.  
 
Like I said, it's been a long year during which patience has begun to fray, for those of us on the SSIRP board and most certainly for people in our community who have been wondering what's going on as they pass by the building and see no progress. We knew from the beginning this would be a step-by-step process, and while we've been waiting for the state to untangle its red tape we've been laying the foundation to transition this historic building from a dark shell to a thriving hub. Rest assured that every board member of SSIRP -- along with the wonderful volunteers who have come forward to lend a hand -- are dedicated to bringing back The Sherburne Inn. There have been so many volunteers that it's impossible to name them all, but you know who you are, and SSIRP is and will be eternally indebted. This project in late 2012 began with a handful of voices. Today those voices are a choir, and they are everywhere. 
 
This Christmas, I speak for the entire SSIRP board of directors in extending thanks to everyone in Sherburne, in surrounding communities, and those from far away who have supported us (with particular thanks to the Howard K. Finch Memorial Foundation and The INN-SIDERS). The individual donations, large and small, have brought us to where we are today, celebrating the state grants that will launch this project forward. Without the checks that have arrived by mail over the past two years we would not have been able to continue. Thank you for supporting our fundraising events, for pressing twenty dollar bills into board members' hands, for buying (and selling) INN-SIDERS' books, for touring the Inn to see for yourself the building we love, and for sending letters and emails of encouragement. This is a special town, one I'm glad and proud to call home.
 
To everyone who has been so generous of time, money, and spirit -- Merry Christmas! It is because of you that we are on our way!!
 
Oh yes, and mark your calendars for summer 2017 -- no promises yet, but we're shooting for a grand opening on the Inn's 100th birthday!

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About Me

Newspaper columnist; blogger; author of Delta Dead; author of 101 Tip$ From My Depression-Era Parents; author of Australian Fly; editor: ...And I Breathed (author, Jason Garner, former CEO of Global Music at Live Nation), "A History of the Lawrence S. Donaldson Residence"; "The Port Washington Yacht Club: A Centennial Perspective"; "The Northeastern Society of Periodontists: The First Fifty Years"; editor: NESP Bulletin; editor: PWYC Mainsail; past editorial director: The International Journal of Fertility & Women's Medicine; past editor of: Long Island Power & Sail, Respiratory Review; Medical Travelers' Advisory; School Nurse News; Clear Images; Periodontal Clinical Investigations; Community Nurse Forum