The Distance We’ve Traveled - End of Year Report, Dec. 2011
The former Masonic building situated on Rte 9N at the gateway to Main Street, Au Sable Forks, (Essex and Clinton Counties), NY, was acquired in July 2009 by Appleby Foundation, Inc. Renamed the Tahawus Lodge Center (TLC) it has since undergone an asbestos abatement procedure (including the removal of all windows), and riverfront and site surveys. Appleby was awarded a $60,000 matching grant from the NY State Main Street Revitalization Grant through the Office of Community Renewal for TLC building improvement, and a $12,600 NYSCA Architectural Design grant, which together with bank financing in 2010 enabled TLC to address the first phase of the 5- year renovation, $1,000,000 endeavor. The growing Steering Committee of business and community leaders now comprises 22 upstate and downstate members.
Phase One (2010-2012) of the TLC revitalization plan saw the completion of Main Street storefront, reclaiming the street level floor and basement access, installing an interior rental gallery space, the launch the Windows Gallery to highlight the visual arts, and summer offerings of dance instruction in the freshly painted 3rd floor studio. All the spaces of TLC will be put to work at every stage of renovation, as it reclaims its purpose as a gathering place.
Phase Two (2012-2014). Renovation priorities now focus on a series of projects of infrastructure, and progress occurs at the rate of funding. Projects include replacing all windows with energy efficient models, making repairs to the foundation due to flood damage from Irene and Lee, and renovation of antiquated heating, plumbing and electric systems. The roof, basement, and the addition of a rear deck all require attention. TLC plans to expand its Membership Drive to engage the surrounding community in its cultural programming, and to explore and develop income streams to support the building operations through space rentals or marketing banners on the building, and through fund-raising initiatives.
TLC has already changed the scene on Main Street and enlivened the town’s waterfront on the Ausable River. One can appreciate the improvement in the streetscape with the addition of trees, park benches, and a summer farmers market. As a revitalization project TLC is a business development enterprise of culture and commerce. The Gallery and dance studio saw 500 people pass through its doors in the first season. TLC has the capacity to be the integrating link between arts, activities, tourism, shopping, and recreation, with its gateway location. TLC’s programming will support local businesses on Main Street, families in the community, and improve the quality of life in the region.
We welcome ideas for uses of the new retail spaces, including light manufacturing concepts, locally made products or services, and for cultural, recreational, educational and professional development. Investigatory talks with several enterprises have explored: a photography studio, a sporting goods and guide enterprise, a hardware and general store, a butcher, bakery, an artisan brewery and restaurant, film and theater workshops, a science camp for elementary school students, a dance and wellness studio, entrepreneurial workshops for adults and teens. We are just beginning. But imagine, instead of driving 40 minutes into Lake Placid or Plattsburgh, there could be new choices for activities, goods, and services-right in town. Join us on Main Street! 646-734-7151, Tahawus@verizon.net