Mike Maloney inherited the tavern from his father, Bill Maloney, who died on Jan. 4. He had converted the building back into a tavern 40 years ago, and his son plans to set on this project with his father's vision in mind.
"I know his mindset, and I've worked for him for a long, long time," said Maloney of his father. "Being able to come back and do this, I know where he would be going with it."
The Charlton Tavern has served many purposes in its long history. Built in 1787 as a tavern, and one of the hamlet's first structures, it was converted into a grocery store, general store and western clothing outlet over the years.
January's fire also destroyed the neighboring home of David and Lynda Green. Within days, the community had rallied to help the Greens by taking up collections.
With the community behind him and plans in hand, Maloney says he's ready to put hammer to wood as soon as possible. The only obstacles to the project are now procedural in nature. Maloney must reacquire the tavern's special use permit and also get an area variance from the town.
The Town Board of Charlton is already considering the project, and declared itself lead agency at a Monday, Feb. 23, meeting.
"We have to follow the procedures that are laid out in our zoning ordinance in order to allow them to rebuild," said Charlton Supervisor Alan Grattidge. "I myself am looking forward to working with the Maloneys to get through this process."
Several more meetings and a public hearing will be needed to clear the tavern for construction, said Grattidge, who said he would like to see the project move ahead "as soon as possible."
Legal hurdles, financial worries and the logistics of construction aside, the hardest part of the rebuilding efforts might be extending appreciation to all those who reached out with time or money after the tragic fire.
"I'm afraid that at some point it's going to be tough to say thank you to so many people," said Maloney. "We appreciate what's been going on."
For more information on Sunday's event and Operation Phoenix, visit www.charltontavern.com.""