SAXTONS RIVER -- Main Street Arts was recently named the recipient of a $40,000 grant to fund the installation of an elevator as part of the nonprofit's mission to make the building more accessible, improve and expand the property, and engage the community in new arts ventures.
The $40,000 is coming from The Dee Foundation, an organization created to celebrate the life of Dee Macri, who lived with a physical disability, and to contribute to efforts to make life easier for those with physical challenges. Representatives from The Dee Foundation will be at MSA on Saturday to present its members with a check.
Margo Ghia, MSA's managing director, told the Reformer the money will go a long way toward helping the organization become a more inviting and engaging place.
"This is tremendous support for the whole project. Accessibility always is an important part of MSA's vision ... making our building available to everyone that wants to participate is important," she said Wednesday. "It's very exciting. There has been so much support of Main Street Arts and our capital campaign."
The organization's second floor theater can be reached only by stairs, which means many people could not attend performances, events or classes there. Ghia said a Vermont contractor will be hired for the elevator installation, which she hopes will begin in the spring.
An old and condemned building next door to MSA's location was demolished in October 2012, acting as the start of MSA's campaign to construct a two-story building in the space. Kathleen Bryar, chairwoman of MSA's Capital Campaign Committee, previously told the Reformer a new building will essentially be developed around an elevator once it is installed. Funds were raised throughout the previous summer to acquire the old building. Those involved said it was a difficult process because in addition to raising the money, there were tax liens that had to be dealt with and the building's owner, who was living in Chicago in 2012, had to be tracked down.
Sarah Macri, a member of The Dee Foundation's board said in a statement the organization's members are always happy to help make parts of small communities more welcoming for those who live in them.
"We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to lead a happy and healthy life enriched by community support. We help fund programs that enhance positive parenting skills, provide family support and offer social and recreational opportunities to promote emotional and physical health," she said. "Encouraging youth and families to celebrate the variety in the human condition, in order to help create accessible and welcoming communities, is a priority for The Dee Foundation.
"The Dee Foundation is proud to support Main Street Arts in the creation of accessibility for its theater. We believe that our award for MSA's elevator contributes directly to fostering a welcoming community," Macri said. "In spite of her physical disability, Dee Macri did what she loved and participated in many theater productions in her home town of Oyster Bay, New York. Dee would be very pleased, as is the Board of The Dee Foundation, to make this award to Main Street Arts."
Visit http://mainsreetarts.org/ for more information on Main Street Arts and its capital campaign.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.