The CVCFC is formed for the purposes of restoring the former school building for a range of charitable community purposes. This includes offering cultural programming and encouraging arts-related business ventures as well as maintaining an arts and local interest reference materials collection. Our mission includes not only presenting educational enrichment programs but also providing space for education or training offerings made by other organizations. We participate in economic development programs and work with existing social services agencies to facilitate programs in Northern Otsego County. We actively provide shared or dedicated facilities for senior citizen & teen social functions. In conjunction with Village and Town agencies we provide community recreation facilities. We offer technical assistance to resident activities. We help facilitate the preservation of other significant Cherry Valley structures. We conduct any & all lawful activities that may be useful in accomplishing the stated purposes.
Sixteen years ago the building that had been the Cherry Valley School sat abandoned, and vandalized. The school had merged with the Springfield scool, a new building had been built, and the Old School had become a hangout for teens looking for trouble. The largest structure in Cherry Valley and the second largest building in northern Otsego County had become an eyesore of broken windows and piles of litter. The village could not afford to tear it down and so it sat unattended.
A few concerned citizens became committed to the idea that the forsaken building might hold the future of Cherry Valley, and they set about acquiring it from the board of education. A 501 C3 non-profit organization was formed and in 1992 the Cherry Valley Community Facilities Corporation (CVCFC) was born.
The first step in developing a renovation strategy involved polling every community member for feedback as to what was most needed to improve the quality of life in Cherry Valley. In one way or another the survey indicated a need for cultural programming and a place for all ages to socialize. With the help of generous private donors, the office of New York State Senator Jim Seward, and a grant from the Scriven Foundation, the infrastructure of the building was restored and two rooms were renovated. An enterprising young high school student presented the idea of a teen café that would provide a drug and alcohol free place for young people to congregate, and the space became known as the Old School Café. The Leatherstocking Promise of Otsego County provided grants for this project, which has included a film series, dances, poetry readings, and art exhibitions. In conjunction with youth programming, a senior meal site was established at the café with funds from the Otsego Office of the Aging, and the CVCFC now hosts the most successful senior meals program in the area. A third room has been added to the Old School Café, and the expanded space continues to be used for a variety of arts programming, such as Line Upon Line, an open-mike poetry and music event, held in conjunction with the Cherry Valley-Springfield Central School, and the All-Star Invitational Rock, Country, and Jazz Jam Sessions.
When it became neccessery for the Post Office to relocate, the CVCFC negotiated to have it installed at the Old School. With the help of Wilber Bank's financial advisors a mortgage was given against a long-term lease with the Post Office. The Post Office, which occupies 4,000 square feet in the front of the building, has not only served as a cornerstone tenant in the further development of the Old School, but it also is a place where neighbors meet every day while getting their mail.
Through start-up and expansion grants from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York and The New York State Office of Children & Family Planning, the CVCFC undertook the construction of one of the largest daycare facilities in the county. In the 7,000 square-foot wing that had formerly been the elementery school, the Cherry Valley Children's Center opened its doors in the spring of 2004. This state-of-the-art facility not only provides safe and affordable daycare to more than 50 local children, it has also created 15 much needed jobs for community members.
To further expand the use of the facility, the CVCFC leased the gymnasium section of the Old School to the Town and Village for a community activities center, now known as the Cherry Valley Community Center. The village also converted six acres of land behind the Old School into Alden Park, which includes a playground, walking and running tracks, and playing fields.
The two most recent additions to the Old School are a fully equipped exercise facility, Go Figures, with a membership exceeding 100, and an office shared by the Town and Village. Under development is a community reading room that will contain books relating to Cherry Valley's history.
Through tireless hard work, the dream of transforming this once derelict building into a vital structure central to the life of the community has become a reality. To help preserve the historical integrity of the building, the Environmental Protection Fund has provided a matching grant regarding the restoration of doors and windows.
The cost of the reconstruction of the Old School thus far is approaching two million dollars. This money was raised without adding to the taxes of an economically depressed community. It has been the result of grantwriting and fundraising on the part of the CVCFC's board of directors. Much of the building has yet to be addressed, and the CVCFC continues to work diligently towards that end.