Thursday, July 29, 2010
Inside, the scene looked like grocery stores everywhere: men and women shopped among shelves full of bread, produce, snacks and treats. Outside, the building had a new façade.
The new look was achieved with help from a $5,000 grant from Sullivan Renaissance to help spruce up Motty’s Supermarket, a former movie theater located at the intersection of Routes 55 and 17B, which now serves as a grocery store during July and August. The supermarket is owned by United Talmudical Academy (UTA).
According to a press release, the UTA made improvements totaling $20,000, which included power washing and painting the building, replacing the old theater marquee with a new canopy and pillars, refurbishing panels on the storefront, replacing an upper story window and restoring an exterior light fixture.
“We were impressed with the scope of the UTA’s commitment in both time and money,” said Richard Sush, who oversaw the project for Sullivan Renaissance.
Bethel supervisor Dan Sturm said, “This is a wonderful example of what can happen when groups work together toward a common goal. The town sees this project as opening the door to a new era of cooperation and mutual respect with the United Talmudical Academy.”
The project marks an easing of tensions between some members of UTA and the town. In 2009, 150 members of the summer Hasidic community registered to vote in Bethel in the wake of the construction of a controversial UTA shul and community center on Shultz Road. According to town officials, the shul had not been properly permitted.
After a public campaign waged by a group called Voters for Election Integrity (VEI), 90 of the registrations were ultimately rejected by the Sullivan County Board of Elections.
In December of 2009, the town and UTA came to an agreement about how the shul could obtain a certificate of occupancy. Part of the agreement called for improvements to other UTA buildings, such as the supermarket.
The supermarket is one of several Sullivan Renaissance seasonal projects this summer. Others include improvements to Regency Estates, a second home community in Woodridge; store front spruce ups to the Main Street Mall in Woodbourne; improvements to the entryway to Garden View Cottages in Loch Sheldrake; and improvements to staff housing at Camp Morris in Woodridge.
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