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Potsdam considers opening community kitchen for business owners

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POTSDAM — The town is considering opening its little-used community kitchen to small-business owners.

The new town hall, 18 Elm. St., opened in January 2013. The building houses both a community room and a kitchen that are rented out for private events.

The community room has been busy, but the kitchen has rarely been rented.

“The kitchen has been used only a couple of times. We think we may have been too stringent on the rules,” said Town Supervisor Marie C. Regan.

For now, the kitchen can be rented only for events. However, business owners have approached the town asking if they could use the space.

People who bake cookies or make chocolate at home want to know if they can use the town’s kitchen, Ms. Regan said.

“We just haven’t allowed that, particularly if anybody is using it for profit, but the kitchen is sitting empty,” she said.

The town is now researching the feasibility of the idea through discussions with the state Department of Health and the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.

“I’ve talked to several small-business owners that have been interested in using the kitchen, just to get what their feedback is,” said Town Clerk Cindy L. Goliber.

If the town does allow them to use the kitchen, business owners would still need to get permits from either the state Department of Health or the state Department of Agriculture and Markets.

The idea is to attract small operations, not large commercial enterprises, Ms. Goliber said.

“I see it as more of a mom-and-pop, not somebody who has a huge business but someone who has more of a home processing business,” she said.

The Town Council is expected to consider the idea at its next meeting, April 8.

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