Jason Dole | Democrat
From left, Sullivan Renaissance Program Director Glenn Pontier, Marge Feuerstein of Manor Renaissance, Town of Rockland Supervisor Ed Weitmann, County Legislator Kitty Vetter and Sullivan Renaissance Chairperson Sandra Gerry hold up the Golden Feather check.
Story by Eli Ruiz
LIVINGSTON MANOR August 27, 2013 After torrential 2012 floods damaged homes and infrastructure, followed by a massive fire that destroyed the Town of Rockland hamlet’s historic Hoos building and the four businesses housed therein, it would have been easy for Livingston Manor to throw the proverbial towel in as far as rebuilding.
But as Marge Feuerstein of Livingston Manor Renaissance put it, “We’re not quitters out here.”
With the Livingston Manor Renaissance group’s big Sullivan Renaissance Golden Feather win for their 2013 large-scale, multi-year Category C project involving various improvements to the hamlet’s Main Street just a few weeks ago, Feuerstein’s words couldn’t possibly ring truer.
And on Saturday in “The Manor,” it was time for the entire town to celebrate that big victory with a block-party style celebration beginning at the Catskill Arts Society on Main Street, where Sullivan Renaissance founder Sandra Gerry presented Livingston Manor Renaissance with the $25,000 prize/grant that comes with winning the prestigious Golden Feather award.
Dozens of Livingston Manor residents walked up and down Main Street on a gorgeous day, enjoying the beautiful floral arrangements throughout the hamlet, free hot dogs, and even a free ice cream come from Madison’s Main Street Stand.
“The sheer amount of adversity they [Livingston Manor Renaissance] had to overcome… not just them, but the entire town to put together this amazing project just shined through,” offered Sullivan Renaissance Director Glenn Pontier.
Livingston Manor resident Glenn Carlson, who volunteered his Sunday afternoon to serve hot dogs for the celebration, spoke of the tremendous amount of work the Livingston Manor Renaissance group put into the Sullivan Renaissance project: “These ladies worked tirelessly over the summer,” he said. “The least I could do for them is just help out today… [they’re] just an incredible group and they worked extremely hard all year for this.”
As for Feuerstein, who has been with the Livingston Manor Renaissance group for five of its 11 years of existence, she said of the big win, “Everybody on the steering committee is absolutely thrilled. We were somewhat surprised, but I have to tell you we’re all very thrilled and extremely happy about this. It’s just so gratifying considering how hard these ladies worked for this and what the town’s been through.”
As far as all that hard work, Feuerstein explained, “It basically started way back in January when we started with the visioning workshops. We had just a great outpouring of people and we’ve just been rolling ever since . . . It’s been non-stop for months and I think it’s true… the Manor’s never looked as beautiful, and we’re all just thrilled.”
Feuerstein went on to laud Livingston Manor Renaissance intern Brittany Fuller, noting, “She was fabulous. She was just really hardworking and dependable. We were absolutely thrilled to have her, and since she’ll be attending college locally at SUNY Sullivan, I’m hoping we can have her again next year.”
Asked what the group’s plans for the $25,000 in prize money, Feuerstein said, “I can’t really say we have a specific proposal yet for next year but we do have a number of ideas we’ve kicked around. This [project] required so much work over the summer that we didn’t really get a chance to sit down and discuss next year.”
Feuerstein did offer up one of those ideas, though: “One of the things we’re interested in possibly doing that we never had the money to do before is implementing a storage facility of our own. We have all of our things at someone else’s place and we could use the space for planters, baskets, tools and all of the things that these projects entail to be stored in over the winter… so that’s a possibility.”
As for Gerry, regarding the day’s celebration, she was short and sweet: “It was a beautiful, beautiful day in Livingston Manor. Everyone should be so proud.”