Dear Friends and Members,
2017 was an extraordinarily special year for the Hunter Foundation! This year marks the 20th anniversary since the founding of the Hunter Foundation, and in August we celebrated with a gala event held at the newly named Fromer Market Gardens. At our event we recognized our three “Founding Fathers”; Sean Byrne, Orville Slutzky and Ron Wagner who had the vision and drive to start the organization in 1997 with a single goal of giving back to the community. This same organization has since grown to become one of the leading economic development organizations in our entire region. None of what we have accomplished in the past 20 years would be possible without these three men’s dedication and leadership at a time when Hunter needed it most. With deepest gratitude, we thank them.
The Fromer Market Gardens, adjacent to the Tannersville High school has undergone major changes this past year. We have recently completed the first phase in a complete reimagining of this property. Construction on a state of the art 144ft by 60ft greenhouse was completed in October and we are happy to report we are now growing organic produce that will be served in local restaurants and on local dining room tables once harvested. Our farmers Dallas and Becky are hard at work cultivating certified organic leafy greens, vegetables and mushrooms with plans for much more to come. In the spring we will finish construction on outdoor beds and continue developing the surrounding property to be a destination for visitors to the Village of Tannersville. Additionally, a curriculum consultant from Hunter Tannersville Central School is working with us to develop ways to engage the local student population. Much has been achieved this past year and this property will continue to evolve as time goes on.
After last year’s successful grant award of $500,000 from the Department of State, the “The Gooseberry Creek Revitalization Strategy” will start to be implemented in 2018. Our successful grant award in collaboration with the Village of Tannersville will allow us to make meaningful and impactful changes to the Rip Van Winkle Lake and connections to the Village. A committee of local officials, residents and Hunter Foundation board members was created to steer the development. Stay tuned for more details on how to get involved with helping our local Village Lake transform into an amazing destination amenity.
The long vacant Villa Maria property, which we have owned since 2014, has a long history of providing lodging and entertainment to visitors to the Catskills and the town of Hunter. We have completed a sale of this property to a group of investors who have plans to revitalize it and bring it back to its former glory. Plans are being developed and the group is now going through the permitting process with the hopes to begin work in the spring of 2018. We are excited for the potential that this property will bring to the future of the Mountain Top!
This year we also finalized the purchase of the Bear Plaza building, or as some may know the former A&P. The building is centrally located in the heart of the Village of Tannersville and has great potential for additional commercial establishments within our Town. We are currently developing plans to renovate and update the entire structure to be complimentary to the rest of the Village.
In November we welcomed Amy Scheibe to the Board of Directors of the Hunter Foundation. Amy is an accomplished author, actress and local resident of Elka Park. We are all very excited to have her on the Board, and we look forward to her participation in our efforts!
2017 was a very busy year for everyone at the Hunter Foundation, and there is no sign of slowing down. We greatly thank you for your support this past year, and we also wish you a healthy and prosperous 2018!
Sean Mahoney and Elena Patterson, Co Chairs