Members of the Bloomingburg Preservation Foundation have been rejoicing since Tuesday night's landslide victory, yet their future as stewards of a historic property on Main Street is not guaranteed.
After the foundation successfully petitioned for a ballot measure on whether to allow the Town of Mamakating to sell the Dutch Reformed Church to a congregation, the much-anticipated vote ended up a landslide.
Voters rejected the town's plans to sell the property by a count of 550 to 31.
After that battle, comes a standoff.
The seven-member Mamakating Town Board will decide whether to give a new lease to the foundation for $1 per year or give it to another community group that wants to restore the 197-year-old church.
The preservation foundation operates the church as a museum and event center.
The foundation had a lease that was renewed every year from 1975 until 2014.
Members said that in those 39 years, $50,000 was invested to maintain and improve the building.
They admit that since 2014 the building deteriorated. As members became ill or died, fewer were available to do basic upkeep.
Preservation Foundation Vice President Marc Fowler said at least 16 people recently joined the foundation because of the build-up to Tuesday's one-question election.
"We've had this spectacular success, showing that the townspeople want to keep the building," Fowler said. "Do we really need to start arguing about the lease?"
The answer: Probably.
Mamakating Town Supervisor Bill Herrmann, who holds one of the board's votes, told Spectrum News in May that he was on the fence about whether he favors giving the foundation a new lease.
When reached by phone on Wednesday afternoon, he seemed to be off the fence.
"I'd have to say no," Herrmann said when asked whether he had confidence that the foundation could effectively restore the church.
He said the foundation has let the building deteriorate while showing little initiative to mitigate safety hazards.
He spoke specifically about the front steps, which for several years have been surrounded by a temporary orange hazard fence and have plants growing out of them.
"It's a serious safety issue," Herrmann said. "We've gone back and forth with them, and they just don't want to repair it."
Fowler said contractors reached out to the foundation offering to fix the steps and paint the building for free, but would not begin those projects until a lease agreement was in place.
"Give us the lease, and let us get on with our mission," Fowler said. "If they want to continue to fight, then we'll certainly rally the townspeople."
Herrmann said he wants the foundation to rally the townspeople to work on the church now — not after a lease is signed.
"I just don't personally understand the need to have a lease to carry out your mission," he said "We have very different philosophies and viewpoints on that."
Fowler said he will deliver a letter to the town hall requesting a new lease.
Any debate or vote on whether to grant the foundation a new lease for the property has not been scheduled.
Herrmann said other community groups have offered to take over the property and preserve it. He wants the board to consider those groups' track records compared to those of the preservation foundation.
While the major projects, like the front steps, will likely cost tens of thousands, there are smaller projects that could be done by members without professional equipment.
The projects include a fresh paint job on the foyer ceiling, from which large sections of white paint have fallen over the years.
"We had fully intended to have that painted by now," Fowler said with a sigh. "But we haven't gotten around to doing that."
When asked whether completing those kinds of jobs would have any impact on his one vote, Herrmann said, "It would certainly be a show of good faith."