When I invested in Catskill in 2000 with little more than dreams, I could not have predicted that my goal to create a better life and contribute to the community would have been critically linked to the support and encouragement I received from others; from Bruce Whittaker, then president of the Bank of Greene County who funded my redevelopment projects, to Steve Dunn at Dunn’s Builders who extended a line of credit, to the tax assessor, Sue Golden who worked with me on assessments as I fixed up badly destressed building. To date, my team and I have restored 25 buildings in Catskill. I learned a lot about architecture and met so many supportive people in our community.
Lumberyard, the performing arts organization was launching their multi-million dollar renovation project on Water Street when they discovered — after extensive initial testing — that asbestos covered their facility. With renovation projects unexpected curveballs are the rule, not the exception; however, in terms of construction cost this is a significant curveball.
Today, Catskill has a bright future. People are investing in Catskill in the village; restoring old homes and commercial buildings, opening restaurants, galleries, and shops. After experiencing the ebb and flo of arts and commerce in Catskill over the years, I welcomed the arrival of the Lumberyard, an arts organization that has made a serious investment in our community. Their commitment to Catskill will bring jobs and tourist dollars and will accelerate the visibility of Main Street, Catskill in our region and beyond.
As we have seen elsewhere in the Hudson Valley — and across the country — performing arts organizations have played a vital role in economic growth and revitalization. Lumberyard has the potential to grow our local economy. During their renovation, numerous local tradesmen will be employed. Upon completion, hundreds of Lumberyard’s visitors will enjoy our restaurants, stay in our B&B’s, shop at our stores, support our businesses, and invest in our community.
While Lumberyard’s asbestos surprise is a threat to their 2018 opening, it does provide the opportunity for our community to pull together to help a neighbor and build an even-stronger Catskill. Please join me in supporting Lumberyard by donating to their Asbestos Removal Fund. Together, our community can overcome any obstacle.
Frank Cuthbert is a musician and composer who grew up in the Berkshires. He moved to Greene County in 1991. Since 2000 he has renovated over 25 buildings in Catskill. He is past Vice President of the Greene County Council on the Arts, and from 2005-2016 ran Brik Gallery on Main Street in Catskill.
To learn more and support visit http://www.thelumberyard.org/asbestos