For Immediate Release: April 22, 2105
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The Pine Plains Laundromat located in the rear of the Pine Plains Memorial Hall on Church Street opened for business this afternoon following a celebration attended by local residents, town elected officials and members of the newly formed Pine Plains Memorial Hall (PPMH) non-profit organization. The all-new Laundromat replaces the last Laundromat in Pine Plains that closed its doors in Memorial Hall many years ago.
Pine Plains Town Supervisor, Brian Coons, said, “The entire town is grateful for work that has been done by Jack Banning, Ariel Schlein and Christian Eisenbeiss who came together to first purchase the building and then to open this business. They have big plans for Memorial Hall and we couldn’t be more pleased to see this first step taken.”
“Right after we purchased Memorial Hall, the initial reaction we received was to bring back the Laundromat,” said Jack Banning, President of PPMH. “We have obliged, but this is just the beginning. We are going to restore this building for its original purpose; to be a performing arts destination for the people of Dutchess, Ulster and Columbia counties.”
Brian Keeler, recently appointed Executive Director of PPMH said, “We are well on our way to 503(c)(3) non-profit status for the renovation and operation of the building, and what is especially generous is that the Laundromat proceeds will go to the non-profit to help fund some of the renovation.”
Billy Bartolomeo, former owner of the building and long-time Pine Plains resident as well as a volunteer on the Laundromat project noted, “ We just had a revitalization meeting last week to look at the initial plans, and its great to see some of the things we talked about starting to take shape. Every long journey starts with the first step, and this is a great first step toward making Pine Plains a business friendly destination.”
Background on Memorial Hall:
Memorial Hall was constructed in 1915 and given to the Town of Pine Plains in memory of John McIntyre, his wife, Elizabeth Hauver and their children by their philanthropic granddaughter, Mary Ellen Lapham Saunders who grew up in Pine Plains with her grandparents.
The building is an example of Second Empire architecture that included a large theatre space, and was originally build to be the home for theatre performances, light opera and concerts.
It was a regular stop for vaudeville and minstrel shows, before it was transformed into a first run movie house showing Hollywood fare until the late 1950s. It sat vacant until it was sold in the 1970s where it was subdivided and used as a coffee shop, hair salon, offices and a Laundromat. In the 1990s it was again sold for development, which never took place, and Memorial Hall has been ever vacant since.
The Pine Plains Memorial Hall INC non-profit will restore the theatre to its original glory where it will be a multi-use performing arts space to serve Dutchess, Ulster and Columbia counties and the entire Hudson Valley region.