Since 1872, the Gallupville House has brought together the Gallupville community.
It’s been a hotel, Grange Hall, nature center, and a place for music and dance.
Now, working with the Town of Gallupville, the Gallupville House Association wants to turn it into a municipal building and community center, a partnership it believes would open the door to the state and federal grants needed for upgrades and to reconfigure the second floor.
The GHA presented its vision to the Town Board in June.
While members wait to see what happens with a request for proposals to study the scope of the project—and figure out the costs—members have been working on a series of videos to get that vision out to the community.
Saturday, Heidi Florussen worked the camera as Chris Claus and Nan Stolzenburg talked about possible sources for grants for one of the videos; working together, the non-profit GHA and the town would dramatically increase their chances of success, Ms. Stolzenburg said.
In addition, the GHA could ask for donations, apply to private donations, and set up things like a GoFundMe, she said—all things the town can’t do.
Town Supervisor Alex Luniewski said he’s intrigued and impressed by the GHA’s plans.
But for him, it all comes down to dollars and cents.
“If I had a money tree…You walk into that building and it’s hard not to get caught up in their vision. But things like recurring costs…You have to ask whether it will all fit in that envelope.”
As part of the RFP, Mr. Luniewski said, the town is also looking at addressing needs at the town barn, where he and councilmen want to create more space for trucks and offices and deal with some structural issues.
Though they could use ARPA money for the work, he said, it’s not enough.
“It’s all about the cost and the taxpayers,” he said.
Which is why the GHA is sold on the idea of grants.
A $50,000 state grant the town received in the 1990s, along with funding from Iroquois Gas and Fenimore Assets helped stabilize and rehabilitate the Gallupville House 25 years ago.
But it’s the last time the town has applied for any grants, Ms. Stolzenburg said.
“No one wants their taxes to go up. I don’t want my taxes to go up,” Mr. Claus said. “But we think we can make this work”--in part because the town already owns the building and land and because he’s willing to gift the project access to water; right now there’s no kitchen and indoor bathrooms, something that limits the building’s use.
The GHA’s vision includes more space for things like public hearings, jury trials, community events and voting.
The second floor would be turned into space for municipal offices, with possible office space to rent for small businesses.
Outside there would be a playground, community gardens, increased parking and room for solar panels to help decrease the project’s cost.
And because the Gallpuville House isn’t in the flood plain, once it’s made handicapped accessible, it could also be used as an emergency shelter.
“It’s such an important part of the community and such a historic property—and something that could draw people and create opportunities for economic growth,” Ms. Stolzenburg said.
Mr. Claus, who grew up in Gallpuville, remembers when kids spent their free time traveling from one end of the hamlet to the other.
“It could be that again with a Gallupville House that was open to everyone as a real community center.”
Videos, more information, and drawings are available at GallupvilleHouse.org or at the Gallupville House Facebook page.