Submitted by Chris Hoffman
(Sherburne, NY – March 2013) The newly formed citizens’ preservation group known as Save the Sherburne Inn Restoration Project, Inc. (SSIRP) is pleased to announce that it has raised the funds to purchase the Sherburne Inn property (most recently known as The Bullthistle Inn) from current owner Jim Webb and is proceeding to closing the purchase around April 1.
SSIRP was formed in October 2012 and incorporated in January 2013 in response to the news that the historic building and the adjacent property were to be purchased by a store chain and demolished in order to construct a new gas station and convenience store. In October, Webb agreed to give SSIRP until April 1 to purchase the building, and also gave SSIRP right of first refusal on the adjacent property (formerly the Big M grocery store).
Since its formation, SSIRP has established a board of directors and applied for nonprofit status, which is pending before the IRS. Plans for the building include restoring the exterior and renovating the interior to include a restaurant and bar on the main floor, a pub with light food on the lower floor, sleeping rooms, event space for parties and meetings, and other amenities to meet customer demand.
The Inn, which is listed on the National Historic Register as part of Sherburne’s historic district, opened its doors on June 19, 1917, following the efforts of philanthropic residents who donated funds to rebuild on the property after The Sherburne House burned to the ground in 1915.
“We’re very grateful to Jim [Webb] for giving citizens of this community the opportunity to save and restore the building,” said Kathleen Yasas, President of SSIRP. “Our goal from the beginning was to do the right thing for Sherburne in preserving Sherburne’s anchor corner. We realize hard work is ahead in raising funds for restoration and renovation. Our board members are ready to roll up their sleeves and, with the help of the community and other patrons, feel confident we can turn the lights back on in downtown Sherburne.”
SSIRP intends to solicit both state and federal grants for some of the restoration costs, and is in discussion with The Preservation League of New York State (PLSNYS), which has expressed encouragement and validation as to SSIRP’s business concept and marketing strategy. The function of PLSNYS is to work with a nonprofit entity (such as SSIRP) in coordinating efforts with architects, engineers, and funding sources.
Tania Werbizky, PLSNYS’ Regional Director of Technical and Grant Programs for Western New York, said, “SSIRP is doing all the right things: engaging the community, forming a strong board, moving forward quickly to purchase the property, and framing the project within the context of economic drivers and factors.”
The restoration of the Inn, once fully operational, will not only create significant new local jobs, but also will bring tourist dollars and tax revenues to the village. Additionally, SSIRP’s vision includes partnerships with local farmers, growers, and producers to supply the restaurant, which will support Central New York’s agriculture.
SSIRP will also seek donations from area corporations and businesses that will eventually benefit from services offered by the Inn, as well as grants from local private and family foundations and individual donations. The community at large is enthusiastic about the possibility of the Inn, long a place of fond memories for hundreds of families in the area, becoming once again the pride of Sherburne.
“The SSIRP board extends its thanks to all the volunteers who have offered to help and who have been contributing to this project since October, and especially to those who have donated funds to help us purchase the property,” Ms. Yasas said. “We look forward to working with the residents of Sherburne and our village leaders on this exciting community project.”
To learn more about the project, go to thesherburneinn.org or follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SaveTheSherburneInnRestorationProject?ref=ts&fref=ts. Donations can be made by mailing a check to PO Box 1102, Sherburne, NY 13460-1102, or by credit card at the website (click on the “Contribute” tab).