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Croghan Maple Museum adds elevator for improved accessibility

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CROGHAN — The American Maple Museum is reaching new heights of accessibility with the addition of an elevator.

“It will give us accessibility to the entire museum,” said Donald M. Moser, president of the museum’s board of directors.

An elevator has been installed on the north end of the historic building, and officials hope to have it up and running by Saturday for Maple Weekend.

The long-discussed project, which came with a price tag of $65,000 to $70,000, was made possible with assistance from a $25,000, low-interest loan from a village revolving loan fund.

The funding stemmed from a state Community Development Block Grant, awarded to the village in 2004, that was used for downtown revitalization and administered through Snow Belt Housing Co. Inc., Lowville. Under the revitalization program, landlords who received assistance were required to repay a portion of the funds to the village, creating a revolving fund for other activities.

Mr. Moser said the elevator project would not have been possible without the loan.

With the funding making the project financially feasible, it made sense to move forward to avoid paying even more in the future, said Nadeen R. Lyndaker, museum board member and president of the Lewis County Maple Producers Association.

“Everything keeps increasing in costs,” she said.

A lot of volunteer labor was used to help keep expenses down, she said. Starting in May, board members are planning to hold monthly benefit dinners at the museum to help defray the costs of the project as well.

Contributions may also be sent to the American Maple Museum at P.O. Box 81, Croghan, N.Y. 13327.

A grand opening is planned for May 17.

Museum officials in late 2011 completed a 3-year accessibility and efficiency project that was initially to include construction of an elevator shaft. Due to cost considerations, museum officials ultimately decided to build a ramp instead, but that only provided handicapped access to the historic building’s main floor, not its second floor or basement.

That project, designed by Watertown architectural firm Aubertine and Currier, included removal of asbestos and lead paint, replacement of the museum’s 30-year-old furnace and upgrades to make bathrooms more accessible.

The American Maple Museum was founded in Beaver Falls in 1977 to showcase the history and evolution of the maple syrup industry. It was moved to its current location, formerly the Father Leo Memorial School, in 1980 when the building was donated to museum directors by Robert and Florence Lamb.

The museum is open annually from Memorial Day through early September. For more information, visit the museum’s web site at www.americanmaplemuseum.org.

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