Rod Brown, the Mayor of the Village of Millbrook, recently called for a public hearing on Saturday, March 16 at 2pm in the Village Hall to discuss the plan to revitalize the Thorne Building.
Prior to the meeting, he had announced that the Board of the Village had voted 3-2 to approve the transfer of the ownership of the Thorne Building from the Village to the Board of the Thorne Building Community Center(TBCC). There are four members of that Board: Oakleigh Thorne (chairman), George Whalen, Ann Gifford and Charlie Pierce.
There were approximately 30-40 people who attended the meeting, among whom were the members of the Board of the Village, members of the Planning Committee for the Thorne Building, John Waite a consultant who specializes in the restoration of historic buildings, Oakleigh Thorne and Allan Rappleyea, lawyer for the TBCC. There were also members of the greater community.
The Mayor opened the meeting with some introductory remarks about the Thorne Building and about the process that had occurred during his tenure as Mayor to develop a plan to revitalize the use of the historic building.
George Whalen summarized the key steps in this process: the creation of the Planning Committee, chaired by Charlie Pierce; the hiring of Carole Martin as a consultant to discover from the members of the community what they believe to be the best uses of the Thorne Building; the major results of that outreach to the community, which she summarized and documented in a report she delivered to the Planning Committee in the fall of 2018.
Oakleigh Thorne described the process by which he and others had been working to resolve the so-called “reverter issue.” And Alan Rappleyea answered several questions related to the zoning of the property.
George Whalen responded to several individuals who asked what would happen if the TBCC was not able to raise the necessary funds. He replied that a very serious effort was now underway to raise these funds. If that effort failed, he made clear that the Thorne Building is no longer the problem of the Village of Millbrook. It is now the responsibility of the Board of the Thorne Building Community Center, a 501c3 not-for-profit entity.
Since the meeting, Oakleigh Thorne, chairman of the Board of the TBCC, has signed the contract with the Village. Upon the resolution of the “reverter” issue, the Village of Millbrook will transfer ownership of the property to the Thorne Building Community Center.
Charles E. Pierce, Jr.
Planning Committee, Chairman