New life breathed into the Centennial House

SARANAC - History has been preserved in the town of Saranac.

The Rural Preservation Company of Clinton County has completed restoration of the Centennial House, a building constructed in the early 1800s on what is today Ganong Drive. The project, which began three years ago, was a massive undertaking but well worth the effort, said RPC executive director Mary E. Mattila.

"This was just an awesome, awesome project," said Mattila. "We are very, very blessed to see this come to completion."

Duquette Brothers Construction of Plattsburgh, which was awarded the contract, created three one-bedroom apartments for senior citizens, one of which is handicap-accessible, said Mattila. The project also involved creating office space for the RPC, which only recently moved its offices into the building.

The $380,000 necessary to fund the project came from the New York State Housing Trust Fund and the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal. Both organizations were "critical" in seeing the project through, said Mattila.

"Without them, none of this would have materialized," said Mattila.

Lynn Kopka, regional director for the NYSDHCR office in Albany, said her organization felt the project was well worth the investment. Though she hadn't viewed the building in person prior to the project, she said photos of the building told the story.

"It was horrific," she said. "It did take a little longer than we would have liked, but this was a monumental project."

Support from the community behind the RPC demonstrated how important the project was, said Kopka.

"The town [council's] support and push was also really important," she added.

Despite small delays on all ends along the way, overall, the project was a success, said Mattila.

"We're just thrilled and the community is thrilled," she said. "This building was dilapidated and now they have a beautiful place to look at when they look out their windows."

"We're very happy," added Kopka. We're hoping the seniors that come in here will now be staying in their community as opposed to going somewhere else because they had no options. It keeps them here closer to their families. We're thrilled."

The RPC is taking applications for housing at the Centennial House, which is income-based. For more information, contact Mattila Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at 293-7569.

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