Church has chance to rise from ruins

In 1996, the non-profit Gloversville Theater Corp. was formed by a group of committed volunteers. Through the generosity of Rick Ruby, they acquired title to the Glove Theatre for $1. For months thereafter, volunteers met regularly to work at cleaning, painting and rebuilding what was left of the former movie house. Though it had been closed since the mid-’70s, and was in an advanced state of disrepair, people rallied and put it all back together little by little. Hundreds of people pitched in and took part in the effort. Under the expert guidance of Roberta Esposito, Jim Strickland and Laurie Freemen, the theater rose from the ashes and opened its doors for its first show in September 1997. The people of the community saved the Glove Theatre from the wrecking ball, and it has been hosting movies, concerts, lectures and live theatrical presentations ever since.

Fast forward 20 years and we now have a historic church at Bleecker Square. Like The Glove, it is structurally sound, but in an advanced state of neglect. It needs the cleaning, painting and rebuilding that requires the TLC of many pairs of hands. Like The Glove, it is available for $1. It could house a brew pub, a winter farmer’s market, antique auctions, flea markets and craft fairs, a music academy and recording studio, a banquet facility or anything imaginable. Like The Glove, the long, slow process of re-building could be an educational and empowering experience for many people, young and old.

The city government must focus its energies on benefiting everyone in the community by improving public services, eliminating blight, rebuilding neighborhoods and revitalizing downtown. These are the things that attract the new people and businesses which are essential to the city’s rebirth. The church is certainly an important historic aspect of downtown.

However, for the city itself to accept the title and take on restoration, it would divert valuable time and resources away from what must be the government’s primary focus. But if there are enough people out there willing to devote their time and talents to an awesome project, they could organize as a non-profit. The city would certainly lend its support in any way feasible.

Who knows, we might again see a great community asset rise from the ruins.



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