By Chris Hoffman
(Sherburne, NY – Jan. 2013) In October, I wrote about a miracle on South Main Street in the Village of Sherburne – the nascent yet determined effort of a group of preservation-minded citizens to save the historic Sherburne Inn from destruction.
In about 12 weeks, despite Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year holidays, this is what we’ve accomplished so far:
Save the Sherburne Inn Restoration Project is now officially incorporated, registered with the Secretary of State, and has its own EIN. Application papers for nonprofit status will be filed with the IRS this week and from this point forward all donations to the project are tax-deductible retroactive to Jan. 15.
Our official paper of record is the Sherburne News. We have a website at www. thesherburneinn.wordpress.com/ and a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SaveTheSherburneInnRestorationProject. Our graphic designer is Scott Braun, a Sherburne native who owns KrazedKat Designs, and our Volunteer Coordinator is Joanne Hoeffler, an Earlville native with a family business called Hoeffler Communications.
We have a Board of Directors, comprised of Kathleen Yasas, Kristina Rodriguez, Peg Jeffrey, Rose Tenney, Jim McDaniel, Vince Yacono, Alice Newman, Steve Perrin, and myself. Maureen Perrin has agreed to serve as our lawyer on a pro bono basis, and Roy Fuller has agreed to serve as our accountant on a reduced fee basis. Richard Ayotte, who is in the process of restoring an old farmhouse in Sherburne and who has a small NYC architectural firm that focuses on historic preservation/restoration, has agreed to consult on the project.
Steve Perrin has agreed to serve as Project Manager to oversee construction and restoration. Perrin worked as a teacher and administrator of DCMO BOCES for 39 years: 25 as a teacher of conservation, 14 as a school administrator, four as Director of Career and Technical Education.
As a member of the BOCES Administrative Cabinet, he was directly involved in a $48 million building project at the Harold Campus in Masonville and the Chenango Campus in Norwich. This three-year project involved the complete renovation of existing facilities and the construction of 100,000 square feet of new classrooms and teaching laboratories. Responsibilities during the project included working directly with BOCES staff, architects, engineers, general contractors, and sub-contractors, and providing guidance and oversight to ensure that a 21st Century facility was constructed for the students of the area and for BOCES staff. Perrin also served on the Sherburne Town Board for 18 years, as well as the Town Planning Board.
Two small fundraisers took place over the holidays, raising almost $3,000 in about two weeks. A direct mail fundraising campaign will be launched in February. Crowd-funding campaigns through Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe are being designed with the help of volunteer videographers. The Kickstarter campaign will raise funds to create and publish a coffee table-style book on the history of the Inn, which will then be available for purchase.
Research is underway on state and federal grant funds available, as well as local family and community foundations, and an aggressive corporate fundraising campaign is being designed. Brochures about the project are being printed and will be available in area businesses and public places, such as libraries and restaurants. The brochure will offer different levels of membership in the restoration project as a vehicle to enable everyone in the community to participate in the project.
A business plan has been drafted and is currently being reviewed by the Board, with input from several consultants in the hospitality industry. The Board’s vision for the Inn includes eight guest rooms; two to four long-term rentals for visiting corporate personnel; event space for reunions, wedding receptions, birthday parties, etc.; a 5-star formal restaurant on the main floor that sources from local farmers and producers; a bar and lounge upstairs; a bar and performance space downstairs that serves casual food; a gift shop that showcases local artisans; a full-service salon and workout room; and office space for administrative personnel. The business plan includes an aggressive, multifaceted marketing plan targeting recreational and vacationing visitors, colleges and universities, and corporate personnel who travel to Central New York on business.
In just three months, all this has been accomplished and set in motion. Our vision is big and broad and deep – some would say too much so. But we believe with all our hearts that this project, come hell or high water, will succeed.
“The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. … Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” (attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)