By Mark Boshnack
The Daily Star
---- — A project to maintain a centerpiece in the historic village of Gilbertsville was recently aided by a capital grant from a regional foundation.
Village historian and Village Improvement Society trustee Leigh Eckmair said $9,000 was recently received from the Community Foundation for South Central New York for asbestos abatement.
The 1889 Gilbertsville post office, owned by the Village Improvement Society, was in need of repairs for the United States Postal Service to continue to lease the property. This entails jacking up the building and rebuilding the stone foundation wall. Service has been maintained throughout the project through careful scheduling.
The still-ongoing fundraising for the $40,000 project began about three years ago and the community support has been “phenomenal,” Eckmair said. Dinners to benefit the project have been hosted by the Grange and Major’s Inn Foundation, and community organizations and individuals have sponsored numerous fundraising efforts.
The foundation has been “wonderful to work with,” Eckmair said. The grant calls attention to the importance of the work because an outside organization wants to help fund it, she said. It also helps secure future grants.
Foundation Executive Director Diane Brown said: “We went out to do a site review and were impressed by how well-used it was and the sheer tenacity of the Village Improvement Society. It was a very competitive process. For example, in the last funding cycle there was $100,000 available and $400,000 in requests.”
Improvement Society secretary Jonathan Dokuchitz said the organization is responsible for maintaining several properties in the village. It’s always busy fundraising because there’s always a need, he said. The grants Eckmair has been able to secure over the years are an important part of the effort, he said.
All gifts to the Village Improvement Society are tax-deductible. Anyone wanting to help this or other projects of the organization can mail the society at P.O. Box 61, Gilbertsville, N.Y. 13776.