Jamie Larson reports from Pine Plains.
The Pine Plains Memorial Hall was once a huge part of the town’s history. On Saturday, May 20, a day full of activities brought the community out to celebrate the groundbreaking of the long awaited restoration of the vacant town icon. The original Memorial Hall was constructed in 1915, but today the big brick building, its tall windows, crown of dormers and the grand theater inside are, admittedly, in rough shape. The mission of the renewal effort is to bring together the community and foster economic development in Northern Dutchess County and surrounding areas. With this restoration, the hall will be a vital part of the town’s future; plans are to make it a regional center for community-based civic and social programs, agriculture and arts education, cultural performances and a starting point for local charitable organizations. Now in its second year of a five-year planning, capital fundraising and construction cycle, there’s enough money to begin the first phase of the project. The man who got the ball rolling, PPMH President Jack Banning, said they’re excited for the innumerable possibilities for the venue. “The trick is that this can be done without taking ourselves too seriously,” Banning said, pictured at left with board secretary Hollis Bart.