The COVID-19 pandemic forced the Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History to become an online resource, so as restrictions now lessen, Museum Director Dr. Sarah Litvin is thrilled to finally open the physical doors again.
The museum was once home to the Reher family and their business. And while there is plenty to see here, like a bakery straight out of the 20th century, with original, century-old oven, and a gallery space for exhibits, help is still needed for the building that is over 100 years old.
Dr. Litvin says that the center is hoping to secure grants to fix the leaky roof and would like to eventually restore the upper floors of the building, where the Reher family lived.
“We’re setting to work to create a clean slate in this space by fixing the roof, repairing the plaster, doing mold and lead paint abatement work," Dr. Litvin said.
It's assistance that may be coming soon.
The city of Kingston has teamed up with non-profit RUPCO to try and secure a state grant of up to $500,000 for businesses and affordable housing units on Broadway. RUPCO is looking for more property owners along the stretch of road to get involved in the grant process with them. If secured, the grant will provide up to $50,000 for each project.
“To be able to have the state match it up to 75% and to only have the property owner have to put int 25%, we feel like is a really good bang for your buck and just something that we’re really encouraging property owners to reach out," Kingston Mayor Steve Noble said.
The grant can be used toward renovating the exterior or, in the Reher Center’s case the interior of the building. Dr. Litvin says the restoration will help further share the story of Kingston’s rich, long history.
“It holds stories that help us understand what happened here, who we are, how communities are formed and how they’re sustained," Dr. Litvin said. "But it’s expensive, right?”
Securing this grant, so that more businesses can restore their buildings’ historic glory and further revitalize the city.
“In order to keep this up, the beautiful, historic facades that will draw people in, and honor the stories of the past," Dr. Litvin said.
For more information on this grant, and how to apply, you can visit the City of Kingston's website.