|History of the Cherry Valley Community Facilities Corporation |
In 1992, the building that had been the Cherry Valley School sat abandoned, and vandalized. The school had merged with the Springfield scool, a new building had been built, and the Old School had become a hangout for teens looking for trouble. The largest structure in Cherry Valley and the second largest building in northern Otsego County had become an eyesore of broken windows and piles of litter. The village could not afford to tear it down and so it sat unattended.
A few concerned citizens became committed to the idea that the forsaken building might hold the future of Cherry Valley, and they set about acquiring it from the board of education. A 501 C3 non-profit organization was formed and in 1992 the Cherry Valley Community Facilities Corporation (CVCFC) was born.
The first step in developing a renovation strategy involved polling every community member for feedback as to what was most needed to improve the quality of life in Cherry Valley. In one way or another the survey indicated a need for cultural programming and a place for all ages to socialize. With the help of generous private donors, the office of New York State Senator Jim Seward, and a grant from the Scriven Foundation, the infrastructure of the building was restored and two rooms were renovated. An enterprising young high school student presented the idea of a teen café that would provide a drug and alcohol free place for young people to congregate, and the space became known as the Old School Café.
When it became neccessery for the Post Office to relocate, the CVCFC negotiated to have it installed at the Old School. With the help of Wilber Bank's financial advisors a mortgage was given against a long-term lease with the Post Office. The Post Office, which occupies 4,000 square feet in the front of the building, has not only served as a cornerstone tenant in the further development of the Old School, but it also is a place where neighbors meet every day while getting their mail.
Through start-up and expansion grants from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York and The New York State Office of Children & Family Planning, the CVCFC undertook the construction of one of the largest daycare facilities in the county. In the 7,000 square-foot wing that had formerly been the elementery school, the Cherry Valley Children's Center opened its doors in the spring of 2004. Today, this facility is operated by Sissy's Little Lamb's Children's Center.
To further expand the use of the facility, the CVCFC leased the gymnasium section of the Old School to the Town and Village for a community activities center, now known as the Cherry Valley Community Center. The village also converted six acres of land behind the Old School into Alden Park, which includes a playground, walking and running tracks, and playing fields.
The two most recent additions to the Old School are a fully equipped exercise facility, Go Figures, with a membership exceeding 100, and an office shared by the Town and Village.
Through tireless hard work, the dream of transforming this once derelict building into a vital structure central to the life of the community has become a reality. To help preserve the historical integrity of the building, the Environmental Protection Fund has provided a matching grant regarding the restoration of doors and windows.
The cost of the reconstruction of the Old School thus far is approaching two million dollars. This money was raised without adding to the taxes of an economically depressed community. It has been the result of grantwriting and fundraising on the part of the CVCFC's board of directors. Much of the building has yet to be addressed, and the CVCFC continues to work diligently towards that end.