Friday, November 23, 2007

Stone Soup

In mid August we began negotiations to buy the building located at 345 Broad Street in Waverly, NY, and in September we paid money down to hold the building and begin the closing process. The owner is financing the sale for us and has made the monthly payments affordable for a non-profit such as us. We are now only waiting for the lawyers to find an acceptable meeting place, date and time to sign the papers, which seems to be time consuming in itself...but we are hoping to close any time and start working!

Most recently the building was the Dollar Bazaar store, most of my life it was the Philadelphia Sales building. My older friends tell me that originally it was a supermarket. It has 4,000 square feet per floor (3 floors) and we will begin by renovating the main floor (off the street) immediately.

We have had the code person for Waverly in and we have been told what we need to get the building up to will cost around $200. Contrary to popular gossip, the roof is fine, although it did leak but the current owner had it repaired a few years back. We had that checked over as well, and it is fine.

The main floor will house the visitor center/gift shop space as well as a lecture/workshop space and museum. We are also having public restrooms put in as there is only one bathroom in the whole building right now! Joe Vaselli of Waverly has donated all of the toilets, sinks and fixtures out of the public restrooms in the St. James School that he is renovating into an apartment complex...that in itself is a huge donation!

We are pursuing two different sources for grants to pay for the public restrooms and we could possibly have the $$ as early as January at which point the work will begin.

We will "T" off the front space from the back (see diagram) and that will house the visitor center and gift shop space. We will have some comfortable seats and tables as well and coffee available for weary travelers who come in to use the visitor center or need directions, etc. I have also made alot of friends that are artists that sell their items that will be very unique to have under one roof in our area...stay tuned. We have also received around $1,000 worth of books to add to our current inventory by WennaWoods Publishing. We will be looking for volunteers to man the visitor center or to be a part of many different events - if you are interested - please just let us know!

In the meantime, we will be working on developing "movable walls" for between the museum and the lecture/workshop space. This is because we want to be able to keep the museum space changing as well as be able to allow for different spacial needs for our workshops and lecture series. Have a hammer or a paintbrush and some time? Let us know if you are interested in helping us!

Lockheed Martin donated quite a bit of furniture to include desks and chairs and worktables, etc so that we have all the furniture we need to get the workshops started and will have to do with chairs that don't match for a while for the lecture series and other cultural events...but hey - - I am amazed at how much stuff we have already!

As for the museum, you know we have the artifacts which was initially made up of the Cowles collection, but now includes the Stafford Collection, the Rolfe Collection, and the Sloat Collection. However, I am not sure that you know that we have received 14 -6 foot long, 4 foot wide slant top display cases, 6 eight foot high, 6 foot wide antique oak display cases, and a handful of other cases all from the Corning Painted Post Historical Society. We plan to refresh our museum floor exhibit every 3-6 months so that we can show different stories of our past and show all of our different collections in different ways. Chances are that we will have a speaker do a launch presentation one night to explain that part of history we are depicting for that period and have a nice get together each time we make the change.

Workshops and lectures will vary and we will try different things and see what works in our community. Some of the ideas we have for workshops are kids night, craft workshops like painting, healthy cooking, weaving, sculpting, carving, or anything we come up with and have teachers for. We will also have clubs for adults and kids that will cover archaeology, history, mineralogy, and even live wildlife. We will also host outside talents for lectures, music, art and other cultural events, and exhibits. We will also have a research library and two PC's setup with wireless internet (donated by CQ Services) for members to be able to use in this area as well. In the end, our hope is that our Center will not only be the stopping place for tour buses, field trips, and travelers, but that everyone in the community will have new options for things to do several nights a week.

We also have a grant request in to the DEC to do murals on the outside of our building, which was sponsored by the Village of Waverly since we do not have our address in NY state yet. The local artists involved with these efforts are Ron Nogar, Thomas Reilly, and Brian Denlinger. We will continue to work with local artists to do exciting things to enhance the downtown Waverly area. I think you can agree by this rendition of what we have called "Windows to our Past," that we will be doing some pretty exciting things very soon. We also have a grant in for a mural insde the building as well...

I have to tell you that when I think about all that we have had donated to us, and all that we plan to do for our community, I always go back to a story that I read when I was a kid called,"Stone Soup."

It was about a village that was very poor and were near starvation, but then a stranger wandered into town. He told the villagers that he would feed them his specialty called "stone soup." Then he asked the villagers to get a big pot of water boiling over a fire. Once that was going, he walked over and reached into his pocket, pulled out a stone and dropped it in.

As he stirred the hot water, a lady came to him and said she had a few pieces of cabbage that she would gladly add. Then another had a few pieces of meat. Another had a carrot which the chopped up and threw in...and so it went as each villager found something that they could add to the pot. This went on until the huge pot was bubbling up with the best stew that the villagers had ever tasted, and they all filled their empty stomachs.

I am sure that you get the moral to the story here, but I also hope you can see how much SRAC understands the value of having friends everywhere that are pulling together to make our Center a special place that our whole community can share and be proud of.

Thank you to all of you who have been there for us through the hard times and reached in to your own pockets for whatever you could give to support this cause.

Not a member yet? Joining SRAC is a great way to show your support. Please consider joining today by clicking the link on the left navigation bar of this page.

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