Schenectady County Chamber buys Gillette House

The Schenectady County Chamber of Commerce, through the Chamber's Foundation, officially purchased the former home of Dr. Elizabeth Van Rensselear Gillette from the county on Wednesday, Sept. 5.

At a public announcement in front of the building with many local and state officials in attendance, Chamber officials signed contracts with the county to purchase the Gillette house for $1.

The Chamber also purchased the adjacent property at 250 Union St., called the Millington property, and plans to connect the two buildings to form a visitor's center.

The center is expected to be the home of the Chamber of Commerce and tourism department and include a large conference room and small conference spaces. There will also be museum and exhibit space that will eventually hold the Schenectady Heritage Area exhibits currently housed at the Schenectady Museum.

We are very excited about this project, said Martin Finn, chairman of the Chamber's board of directors. "It has been a long time coming."

The entire project is expected to cost about $1.5 million, Finn said. About half project's cost will be covered by commitments from various government officials through member items and grants and from private donors.

Former Assemblyman Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, secured $5,000 for the project; $10,000 from Assemblyman James Tedisco, R-Schenectady; $75,000 has come from Senator Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna; $112,000 came from the New York State Canal Corporation; $415,000 from the state Parks Department; and $20,000 from the Wright Family Foundation. Finn said an additional $112,000 is expected from the equity in the Chamber's existing building at 306 State St.

"The Chamber values partnerships and collaboration. Today we recognized and salute our partners in government " Schenectady County, the state and city of Schenectady " for their support, cooperation and leadership to facilitate the Chamber's ownership of the Gillette House and property," Finn said.

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