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Committee heads up effort to save community hall from auction block
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By Carol McIntire
Dellroy Community Hall was built by a group of community-minded residents in the 1990’s for the benefit of the small community. Today, a committee of Dellroy Council is aiming to keep it that way.
Building Committee members Amy Graham, L.B. Palmer and Matt Michel are mounting a campaign to return the hall to its former status in the community and make it a break-even or profitable venture for its owner – the village.
“This building was built by a group of volunteers for the benefit of the entire community,” said Graham, sitting on a bench outside the 4 E. Main St. hall on a recent sunny day. “It’s a community building and the community should have a say in what happens to it.”
Graham was referring to recent statements by village Mayor Doug Ruby, encouraging council to sell the building.
The building, constructed in 1996, was the result of community campaign, led by the likes of Gene and Shirley Anderson, Paul and Donna Long, Ruth Ann Capper, Evelyn Jones and Bill Sprague. Volunteers and local businesses chipped in and, with the assistance of too many fundraisers to remember, and with grant funds, it became a reality.
“I remember Bill Sprague selling homemade ice cream with the profits going to the community building fund,” Graham said. “See those bricks right there,” she said pointing to an area outside the main doors where bricks that read like a who’s who of community residents and businesses, graced the area surrounding the flag pole. “People bought those to help pay for the building.”
A group known as the Community Hall Association managed use of the building over the next several years with the women catering numerous dinners and hosting events at the hall. As time went on, the group grew smaller and the task became too large for the group to manage. They approached village council about the possibility of assuming ownership. An agreement was reached and, in August 2013, the hall became property of the village of Dellroy.
“It was turn-key when the village took it over,” Graham noted. “Initially everyone was on board with the project but over the years, I feel like it has been put on the back burner. Of course, we lost last year due to COVID-19.”
Mayor Doug Ruby said he and Fiscal Office Candy Ruby managed the rental of the building the past few years.
“In my opinion, it’s not making money and the village should sell it,” he told The Messenger. “In fact, it’s never made any money. There might have been a month to two when it made a little bit, but overall, it hasn’t made a dime. I feel it should be sold, but that’s not my decision, it’s up to council.”
He noted Candy resigned her position and he’s not willing to handle the rentals by himself so, if council elects to keep the building, they will have to pay someone to take care of it.
Graham and Palmer said they feel with a little effort the hall can make money and once again be a vital part of the community.
“The building committee met and decided there is no reason we can’t open it back up. We have COVID-19 guidelines from the health department ready to hand out to everyone who rents it,” Graham noted, adding masks will be required. “We are also looking into purchasing touchless hand sanitizers and sprayers to sanitize the building between rentals.”
“Sanitizing will be a big part of the rentals going forward,” Palmer added.
With utility costs running about $400 to $500 a month, the committee is looking to partner with community organizations to conduct fundraisers along with increasing awareness of the availability of the building by advertising and utilizing signage at the hall.
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