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Monday, October 8, 2012

The Sherburne Inn: It's Time to Put Our Money Where Our Mouth Is

So one person said this: "I'll give you $50 this week, and $50 next, is that okay?"

Another said "I'll pledge $100, that's all I can do." Still another: "I'm working on a college account, but is $100 okay?"

These are the people of Sherburne.

I grew up in this town. I spent many hours at the Sherburne Inn, either at dinner, or at wedding receptions, or at the bar having a glass of wine. Everybody has a story, people who married there, or worked there, or had times there like I did, social gatherings where people met and talked and got to know each other a little better. The Inn, in its current incarnation, was built in the early 1900s, opened in 1915 (or by some accounts, 1917). Prior to that it was called The Sherburne House, a glorious wood building that burned twice, and was finally rebuilt of brick. The ghosts of the Sherburne Inn are many, spirits of people who lived and died in this town, who made money and who didn't; residents of a village that many of us call charming, a small place that breeds extraordinary people. Sherburne is a generous town, an historical town. And now, if progress has its way, Sherburne will lose The Sherburne Inn. If this happens it will not be a shame. It will be a tragedy, one that once the bulldozers hit ground, can never be reversed.

Forces are at work. The current owner has held onto this building, and the adjacent one -- a former grocery store -- for awhile. He is due the return on his investment. God bless. But does that mean that in place of historic structures we are left with a convenience store and gas station? Must we of this town be submitted to the blight of other small towns here and elsewhere, where gas stations and stale donuts in paper bags are the hallmark of our community? Must we become another crossroads where travelers fill their tanks and move on? If the forces have their way, that's exactly what will happen.

There are people who launched from this town about whom we can be proud. Clarence Gaines, horse man and dogfood entrepreneur. John Gaines, Clarence's son, founder of The Breeders' Cup. Charlie Palmer, premiere restauranteur. Mark Perrin, biotechnology CEO. Jim Hoefler, college professor. The Ulatowskis, the McDaniels, the Carriers. The list is endless and impressive. Lucille Ball visited the Sherburne Inn, as did Peter Falk. Richard Gere as a boy walked our streets when he visited his aunt and uncle. This town is historic. Our people are fine, giving, visionary. And yet now here we are, at the 11th hour, desperate to save yet another historic building and property from destruction. Desperate to save our town from  the ultimate failing. To put a convenience store and gas pumps in the center is tantamount to giving up. Our municipality has caved. Yes, it will bring tax revenue. And until midnight, every night, we will see the glaring bulbs of a place where kids on bikes will toss cigarette butts, where passersby will fill their tanks and move on to villages that care about their downtown.

I have a dream. To see an historic building on a corner full of light, full of people dining and talking and believing that something better is possible. A Cheers-type bar on the lower level, where once there was a barber shop featuring men who built our community. A place of a few beautiful suites furnished by local artisans. A restaurant featuring local organic food. Another floor where events are held...weddings and class reunions, sweet 16s, church socials, Sunday sundaes, Christmas balls, gatherings where people leave cell phones at home and go back to a time when folks dressed in their finery and came together away from glowing anonymous screens and Facebook. Do we have nothing left? Will we all now do nothing but fill our cars for no reason because we have no where to go, fill our tanks at ruined corner spots taken over by corporations and then stay home, watching mindless television? Wondering why the telephone doesn't ring?

Maybe I'm old. Maybe I'm wrong. But my god, is there anyone out there who feels like I do, that when history and fine old buildings are gone, when the history of our towns is gone, we are lost?

I can't give up yet. I have faith. But that faith is waning, and now I wonder: should I just sell my house and rent a condo in Florida until that town, too, falls to waste in a country that seems no longer to care?

Pledge to Save The Sherburne Inn. We need your help. Pledge at this email address and make a difference. Nothing may ever have been more important for our community. kyasas@aol.com. 


Anonymous said...

So one person said this: "I'll give you $50 this week, and $50 next, is that okay?"

Another said "I'll pledge $100, that's all I can do." Still another: "I'm working on a college account, but is $100 okay?"

i don't get what you are saying? are you blasting people offering money? Just because it's not 1000's of dollars and only what they can afford? Please Explain.

Anonymous said...

I have a dream. To see an historic building on a corner full of light, full of people dining and talking and believing that something better is possible" This is a wonderful dream but not realitic..Unless you want to get a loan and you buy it..Never bite the hand that feeds you..you're community..times are tough and people struggle from pay ck to pay ck..theirs enough business owners in Sherburne you can ask for donations but don't put people down for wanting to help and maybe it didn't work out for that week because their daughter or son was sick and the medicine was more imporatant then you're dream..be real girl friend..Do it the right way...accept whatever anyone can afford...Good-luck

Kathleen Yasas said...

There was no putting people down here. Sorry you don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Read it people! Nobody is being put down! It was an example of the community we live in. People were stepping up and trying to make a difference. The writer was putting those comments as a posivite not a negative.

Harry Potter said...

Frankly, I think that having a super convenience store/gas station on the corner in Sherburne will be a wonderful thing for the community. It will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with bright lights shining for all to see. All those teenagers (and many much younger) who wander the village streets at night, breaking into cars, smashing windows, screaming and yelling at all hours of the night will now have a place to congregate! And I'm sure that people driving through at 11:00 p.m., or 2:00 a.m. will just find it fascinating to stop at this gas station where the local "hoodlums" are hanging, to put gas in their car - or maybe they will just drive on through to the next town. Perhaps at Christmas the gas station can change their outside, bright, white lights to shades of red and green. How festive! As for the comments on this blog, someone needs to go back to school and learn how to spell and the other needs to learn how to read correctly. If someone can't tell a compliment from a put down, they might as well give up and get a job application for the gas station - oh wait, you need to know how to spell to complete an employment application. Sad.

Anonymous said...

my bad. i really had to read it a few times. I just took it wrong. Every penny counts if you ask me.

Kathleen Yasas said...

Every penny certainly counts. Glad you understand that was my point, and that the people of Sherburne are very special.

Anonymous said...

Harry Potter, hummm Fictional Name for a Fictional Mind set in his little fictional world. First off I own two businesses and don't need a job application for a gas station, nor do i have a use for another gas station. Second I can read just fine. It only took me a few seconds to read you are nothing more than a trouble maker. and the wording could be taken a few different directions and i QUOTE:

"These are the people of Sherburne."

Maybe is should have said "These are the concerned people of Sherburne." or "These are the loyal Citizens of Sherburne."

but i'm sure in your little world of "Godric's Hollow", you never made a mistake or misread anything in your life, or took anything the wrong way because you are so perfect.

Funny think is people with your attitude are the disease of our community and only do nothing more than hold everyone back because you, for some reason, bash people because you are not please with yourself. Bash away because you are as transparent as glass. And people don't have to be EDUCATED to see straight through you.

Have an AWESOME day

Anonymous said...

That i do. Even the one's like Harry Potter below. Special Indeed.

Kathleen Yasas said...

Actually, you're right. I should have said these are the loyal people of Sherburne. I was so touched that people have displayed such generosity, giving what they can, that I thought what I was saying was clear. Point taken. As for your feud with Mr. Potter, I'll let you two duke it out.

aitchpop said...

If you'd said "The loyal people of Sherburne" there are those who might have thought that you were being sarcastic. And of course different people have different opinions and loyalties can be to different ideals. Your attack did seem a little personal, Harry; I think it was a reasonable misunderstanding.

Kathleen Yasas said...

In any case, my intentions were good.

Anonymous said...

No Duking needed. I'm glad you are happy. I did a fund raiser last year for a little girl that needed medical attention. GOD BLESS Sherburne and surrounding counties, cities, and even people as far as South Carolina. I figured we would only raise $500.00 tops, but This Small Community of down on their luck, and economically challenged people found it in there heart to donate what they could. Even watched a little girl empty her piggy bank into the collection box. A tear was brought to my eye. We raised over $6000.00 with the thanks to our WONDERFUL people in our community. My faith was revived in Sherburne, and it's people.

Anonymous said...

and so could have Harry's. That is why i made my reply look like i did. It does not matter what people say, it can always get twisted around. Intentionally or not.

Anonymous said...

I'm not from Sherburne, but my town had a similar issue. The way we solved the problem of "progress" was to get the town council to create a "historic" designation for a certain area of the town. We created a group to oversee any changes/demolitions/building within that area. Anyone buying a piece of property within that area/zone had to understand the historic nature of the property and agree to maintain it. It may not be too late for your town.

Anonymous said...

By the way Lucille Ball coming to Sherburne was hoax.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe any company would want to put a gas station/convenience store in Sherburne when there are already two.

Anonymous said...

Your right that was a hoax. Everyone thought because she stayed at Chenango lake one night that she went there. She stayed at Chenango Lake one night with a friend and suddenly she owned property...

aitchpop said...

Minnesota Fats was here though. A couple other young boys and I met him on the sidewalk on N. Main St. He was visiting Jimmy Lewis, and went for a stroll alone, possibly having been told that certain young boys had heard he was in town and were hoping to meet him. I believe he was wearing a suit made of billiard table cloth. Green.

Patty said...

Minnesota Fats' sister lived in Sherburne.

Kathy, how are you doing with pledges? Can we do anything else?

Jo Ann Rodda said...

I am a California realtor that has looked at that building everytime I went by it. In September, I went through the building and considered buying it. I would have considered it more seriously if it had not been gutted and my friend and I actually did some research on it. I also have too many projects going at the current ime.

I am from the South and I have seen place after place close or fall in state of disrepair. This building is too good to be torn down.

What I forsee for this village is if you do not manage to save this building, you will become no more than a cross road on a busy highway. I understand that the cottom factory is also vacant and available for sale.

I have client in the garment industry that say they are bringing back the sewing of garments to this country due to poor quality of the clothes overseas.

It is 1 AM and I am really busy, but I wanted to help. Sometimes you need to help yourselves which you are trying to do. You need to start holding fund raising events. Look for corporations that will match your donations-isn't there Yogurt company near you. There are definite grants for a non-profit organization and profitable organizations for the building because Robin Mizrahi showed them to me. Don't leave any stone unturned. Have the kids help you. Change and $1 bills all help, it doesn't have to be big donations, but a lot of donations. Do something on You Tube. Anything that will draw attention. Maybe you will even draw some new jobs there.

Contact your state senator and representatives and see if there are any funds available from the federal government. Have them talk about it on radio and television. Ask the owner to work with you. I understand he wants to keep the momument in front to his son. Maybe name the building after his son; His son's Sherburne Inn sounds nice. Don't be afraid to call on the famous such as Richard Gere. Ask everyone. You will find many you expect to help won't but many you did not expect to care will help.

Good luck and I will pledge a small donation.

Jo Ann Rodda, Manhattan Beach, Ca

P.S. Maybe you should ask the owner to looking into putting that building into a charitable foundation. Many of the rich are putting their wealth in charitable foundations to avoid paying taxes and are then being paid by the foundation a salary.

Kathleen Yasas said...

Jo Ann: thank you so much for your thoughts. Many developments have occurred this week, please see my most recent post (the sherburne inn: where we are). We will appreciate any donation, large or small, more than you know. To have someone as far away as California care about our small village and its future inspires us even more!

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