The Supreme Court of Dutchess County recently issued a judgment eliminating the “reverter clause” that had been attached to the title of the Thorne Building in Millbrook. While the title has been with the Village since the late 1800s, the clause stipulated that if the Village ever stopped using the building as a school it would “revert” to the Thorne family. This effectively meant the Village could not transfer it to anyone else.
The next step will be to get the zoning modified to allow the building, which is now in a residential area, to be used as a community center. Approval will clear the way for the title to be transferred to The Board of The Thorne Building Community Center (TBCC), a 501-C-3 not- for-profit entity which can then move forward with plans to restore and renovate the building.
As Oakleigh Thorne, President of the TBCC, said: “We can now begin to think how best to implement programs that will be of cultural, educational, and economic benefit to all. The goal is to transform the Thorne Building into a center which offers activities and programs that attract everyone to the Village.”
A Planning Committee comprised of 13 local residents assisted by an outside consultant conducted three public hearings to discover what Millbrook residents hoped to see the center provide. In addition the consultant conducted a number of interviews with local citizens, members of the business community as well as non-profits to learn their views.
The committee then came up with a number of programs for consideration including the use of the auditorium to show films, hold concerts, plays, and readings as well as to host a variety of civic and social events. In addition the building would be renovated to provide:
- A “tech center,” where classes related to the use of current technology can be taught to all ages
- A shared-office work space where internet, printers, copiers are provided for everyone to use
- A commercial kitchen in the basement for a small café, cooking classes, and catering social events in the auditorium
- An exhibition gallery
- Classrooms where a variety of courses would be taught.
The Board also sees the project as an opportunity to create additional parking as well as to landscape the property to make it more appealing and accessible to the public.