Preserving Drover's Inn

By WBNG News

July 22, 2010 Updated May 28, 2009 at 6:56 AM EST

It was built in the 1800's as a place where local livestock drivers, or Drovers, could rest before taking their animals to sell at markets.

In the 1930's it was a funeral home.

And in the 1980's, it was restored and made into a restaurant.

But these days, the Old Drover's Inn in Vestal sits vacant.

But as Action News Reporter Reed Buterbaugh tells us some people would like to change that by seeing the building restored to its former glory.

Despite its rich history, the Town of Vestal has few century old buildings, such as the Drover's Inn still standing.

"For a town like Vestal, 1823 to today, most of the old buildings that had a lot to do with Vestal's development and growth are gone. So it's important to keep them," said Peter Andreasen, (R) Vestal Town Supervisor.

The owner has offered the building to the town.

Vestal leaders could use it for office space, but want to move quickly, so the building doesn't rot.

"We can keep it empty but maintain it so that environmentally it's okay so it doesn't deteriorate anymore," said Andreasen. "It's a very difficult decision because to really make it current would cost a lot money."

Estimates vary on how much work the old Inn needs.

But renovations could cost as much as a half million dollars.

"The building needs insulation for example," said Margaret Hadsell, the Vestal Town Historian. "It may need new windows or updated windows there are a number of things like that that just need to be brought up to be a little bit more energy efficient."

The previous owners did not want the building to be named historic, since it would restrict changes to the exterior of the building.

But deeming the site historic, doesn't mean it can't get upgrades.

"The interior you can change and do whatever you need to do with it. So for perhaps if you choose to put a museum in there," Hadsell said.

Hadsell says while the historic society doesn't have the money to buy the property.

It will do everything it can to make sure it ends up in the right hands.

Andreasen wants to spend 1,500 dollars to hire outside help to examine uses for the building.

It's a proposal that was held over tonight by the town board, which believes two of its town employees could get the job done for less.

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