By Jeanne Sager
PARKSVILLE January 8, 2002 - For the owners of the Best Western Paramount Hotel, the new year is all about new beginnings.
After a fire gutted the Parksville resort in 2000, owner Fred Gasthalter began looking to once again serve Sullivan Countys tourist industry, as soon as possible.
Work on the hotel has been on-going since the fire, said General Manager Bella Farquhar. Weather and various delays have impeded our progress, but were into the foundation work, which includes the renovation of the night club and the guest wings affected by the fire.
The Paramount is one of Sullivan Countys oldest resort hotels still open for business and it has a rich history.
The Gasthalter family first moved to Parksville in 1905, Farquhar explained, and the famed resort actually began as a farmhouse.
To offset the cost of farming, the family took on boarders, adding buildings over the years to keep up with the increasing numbers of faithful vacationers.
Eventually it became a seasonal hotel, Farquhar explained.
Under the current management of Fred Gasthalter, Farquhar added, the property has been enhanced to become a fairly large hotel.
And even the fire, which destroyed roughly 45,000 square feet of the structure, cannot keep it from reopening.
Our goal is to continue the hotels historic tradition and to serve the traveling public who are desirous of visiting Sullivan County, Farquhar stated.
The section of the resort destroyed by the fire in 2000 is currently being reconstructed and renovated, and any other areas of the facility affected by fire are expected to be renovated as well.
Then, in order to match the new additions to the existing structure, other enhancements will be completed.
Though the Paramount does not have a definite date set up for a grand opening, Farquhar hopes to see the hotel reopen this year.
We are looking forward to being open for a wonderful summer season, she noted.