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CLIFTON PARK: Landmark sees historic overhaul

The town has also received another $140,000 or so in various state grants and private donations.

"Like any other project, we do everything we can to leverage grant opportunities and private donations, which we've done," said Superintendent Philip Barrett. "We have spent some surplus funds here but a lot of money has been raised to minimize the impact on tax payers as much as possible."

Roughly $35,000, for example, has been raised by the nonprofit group, The Friends of Historic Grooms Tavern, which was founded when the town purchased the building. Primarily, the group handles grant applications but has compiled a donation mailing list of about 100 people. The Friends will also be holding a planning session in the near future to consider some other possible renovations to the property, which includes, the Tavern's upstairs, an outhouse and adjacent blacksmith shop.

"I couldn't be more proud of the town personnel and volunteers that have come together to achieve what you see here today," said Barrett.

The town has made a conscious effort to involve community workers in restoring the building. According to Shahan, with the exception of the contracting out of electrical work, town employees from buildings and grounds undertook the restoration labor.

Among other things, workers have replaced all existing cabling and electrical wiring, connected the barn to the tavern to be used as a meeting room, refinished the walls, ceilings and cabinets, and generally brought life back to the tavern, paying close attention to detail. The structure has also been brought up to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards with handicap access as well as a new bathroom facility.

"It will really look much nicer when the sidewalk is down and the grass and appropriate shrubbery is planted," said Shahan of the currently unfinished outside premises.

For Myla Kramer, director of parks, recreation and community affairs, the results have been well worth the effort. According to Kramer, in addition to holding an upcoming town board meeting for the first time in more than 100 years, Grooms Tavern will host numerous events and activities.

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