Trevorton Heritage Society making headway
TREVORTON - Two years after first dreaming of converting the abandoned pool house into a thriving community hub that would also hold one hundred years of historic photos, documents and artifacts, a group of committed Trevorton residents are beginning to make headway into their project.
The Trevorton Heritage Society, made up of charter members Rosanne Marquette, Liz Schwartz, Tara Kluge, Alyce Bostwick and Nancy Boyer, received its IRS tax-exempt status in July, a landmark moment for the ambitious group.
With the nonprofit status, the group became eligible to start collecting donations for use toward achieving their dream of renovating the pool house at the Foundry.
The status also allows the organization to apply for grant funding earmarked for community nonprofit projects.
"It was overwhelming, the red tape," said Schwartz. "That (status) now is going to open up the doors that we need."
In the two years it took to officially form the nonprofit, the group has been working toward establishing a foothold in the community and preparing necessary documents to plan the renovation.
Already, the group has a preliminary architectural drawing showing a layout that includes bathrooms, a community room with a small kitchen and a historical society space where residents can do research and view relics from the town's early days.
The pool house was completed in the early '70s as part of the swimming pool complex. The pool has since been filled in, but the concrete structure still stands, largely unused.
Although the building has numerous disadvantages in its design - shuttered openings instead of windows in the former changing rooms, for example - it has one element that excites the group: it was designed for a second floor.
A stairwell is built into each of the former changing rooms, and the beam structure of the roof was designed to hold the weight of an additional floor.
"Our dream would be to put a second floor," said Marquette. "We'd love to have the historical society upstairs."
If a second floor is constructed, the entire first floor would be used for community events, she added.
Boyer said if there could be a second floor, then half of the first floor could be used for an indoor youth center.
"So the older kids have something to do other than sports," explained Boyer.
Before even the first floor is a possibility, though, the group will have to raise between $5,000 and $20,000 for a feasibility study to see what could be done to the building.
"We're at a standstill (until) we can get moving and get our feasbility study," said Schwartz. "That, again, costs money."
The group hopes to raise at least half the funds and get a matching grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
A calendar fundraiser is already chipping away at their goal.
The calendars, which feature a historic photo as the image for each month, are for sale for $10 at Angie's Market, Hannah's Restaurant and the Zerbe Township municipal building.
A limited supply of 300 were printed so people interested in purchasing one should pick one up soon, said Schwartz.
A white elephant auction, held monthly at the storefront adjacent to the post office on Shamokin Street, is also helping raise funds.
"Cash donations and the white elephant store have allowed us to pay legal bills and the architect," said Schwartz.
The organization will also operate a booth at the Trevorton Fall Festival, scheduled for Oct. 11, where they will sell their calendars and possibly do another fundraiser at the event.
They are also gearing up for their big annual event: the Christmas celebration that's grown each year since it's inception.
While the date has yet to be finalized, the organization has already added to this year's festivities, which has included free cookies and drinks, carolers, 27 Christmas trees and a visit from Santa Claus.
"The township (supervisors) made a sled this year," said Schwartz. "And Santa said he would come for two nights."
Schwartz, who is married to township supervisor Mike Schwatz, said the township has been supportive of the group.
As part of ongoing recreation projects at the Foundry the pool house had its electrical system upgraded, which will allow for many of the future changes.
Boyer said the organization will hold an upcoming public meeting with a date to be announced.
"We would certainly welcome their input now," said Boyer. "We're a small group, we're still in the planning and organization stage, but there will be plenty of opportunity for anyone who wants to volunteer."
"We're hoping to accomplish something that's going to fill a need," she added.
For more information on the Trevorton Heritage Society, visit their Facebook page.