Millbrook Round Table
July 17, 2008
Creative SolutionsIn recent Village meetings a small core of vocal residents and non-residents have called for selling the Thorne Building. It would be a major blunder.
While selling Thorne is an option for the Village Board, they have decided to spend time exploring possible income sources that would not only sustain the costs of maintaining the Thorne Building but would go far to revive our business community. The Board has chosen to be creative, open and pro-active in the matter. I am one of several residents who have volunteered to roll up their sleeves and do some work. We have spent time interviewing other communities and businesses who have faced the same opportunities and we have prepared simple spread sheets on expense and profit margins. We have found some interesting possibilities and some challenges. Anyone is invited to the Thorne Revenue Committee meetings. From my participation, I have found that arriving with solutions and the ability to research future possibilities is more helpful than negative commentary.
Selling Thorne is beneficial only in the short run. There would be a one-time effect on Village taxes from the sale. The vocal Thorne dissenters think razing our historic building and putting two homes there is a viable option. The tax contributions of two new homes would be miniscule in contributing to the current tax base of 700 homes. The vocal Thorne dissenters are the same people who criticize the Village for not encouraging more activity and vehicle traffic to help the business district come back to life.
Whenever there are events at Thorne, the business community in general, and restaurants in particular, thrive. Remove those events from Thorne, (especially since several store fronts have been empty for months) and what would the Village offer as incentive for shoppers to bring their money here?
With 14,000 square feet of space available, Thorne could potentially be profitable. Schools and school events, movies, live theatre, craft fairs, antiques fairs, Paint Outs, weddings, concerts and large public events would all be possible. According to Mayor Andy Ciferri, the Board is considering selling Village Hall to the Town of Washington. Proceeds would be used to refurbish a room in Thorne for Village offices.
Selling Thorne is short-sighted given the potential for bringing Thorne back to its full potential. If all else fails, then selling might occur. And if the building is demolished, watching Millbrook's historic jewel being razed would be a sad day.
What the community needs is creative, positive, constructive thinking on the issue. If that sounds like you, please join our next meeting on Monday, July 28 at 7p at the Thorne Building.
Kate Farrell - Millbrook