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Seasonal Residents Use Grant to Improve Former Eyesore

July 26, 2010

[WHITE LAKE] – The seasonal supermarket in White Lake has gotten a facelift, thanks to a cooperative effort among the United Talmudical Academy, owner of the supermarket, the Town of Bethel and Sullivan Renaissance.

Located at the corner of Routes 17B and 55, the building was converted to its current use as a supermarket several years ago after serving as a movie theater in generations past.  It is now called Motty’s Supermarket.

This year the United Talmudical Academy (UTA) received a seasonal demonstration grant of $5000 from Sullivan Renaissance to help with the improvements.  These matching grants are awarded to seasonal communities such as bungalow colonies, camps and second home developments to encourage projects that improve the appearance of their properties and serve as a demonstration to others.

For this project the UTA made $20,000 in improvements including power washing and painting the building, replacing the old theater marquee with a new canopy and pillars, refurbished panels on the storefront, replacing an upper story window and restoring an exterior light fixture.

Mordechai Wercberger, the UTA’s liaison to the project, said that he looked at the clock tower across the street and the new Jeff Bank being built nearby and knew he had to do a good job, not only for his organization, but for the residents who live there all year.

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.”

“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.

The supermarket is one of several Sullivan Renaissance seasonal projects this summer:

  • Regency Estates , a second home community in Woodridge, replaced an expanse of chain-link fence with a modern, yet classic wood fence and planted a colorful array of flowers along the road.  This is a continuation of last year’s project.  Two seasons ago, the community replaced entryway fencing and a corroded gate by constructing a stone wall with new gate, signage and shrubbery.
  • Main Street Mall in Woodbourne is installing an awning over its storefronts and painting the building façade to create a unifying look and screen the unsightly air conditioning units.  Several stores in Woodbourne have improved their interiors with new paint, murals and tables.
  • Garden View Cottages in Loch Sheldrake is new to the program.  The project involved improving the entryway by planting flowers and shrubs, and moving the sign to a new location.
  • Merchav at Camp Morris in Woodridge undertook an ambitious project to move the entrance to the staff housing to increase safety and visibility at the road.  It landscaped the area as part of the project.

“Each year, new seasonal communities choose to participate because they are inspired by the work of others,” Sush said.  “While there is still much to do, we’ve seen a measurable improvement.  Many seasonal communities have cleaned up and beautified their properties on their own, and more join each year.  It’s very encouraging.”

In addition to matching grants, Sullivan Renaissance seasonal beautification activities include:

-         Mini-grants awarded to summer communities;

-         Hands-on workshops on spring and summer gardening basics in May and July, and a workshop on improving storefronts in June;

-         Publishing the “Building Seasonal Partnerships” brochure for area camps and colonies with the support of Thompson Sanitation;

-         Participating in Sullivan County’s “Building Better Relations with Summer Residents” Committee;

-         Conducting a mailing to summer camps.

Sullivan Renaissance is a beautification and community development program principally funded by the Gerry Foundation.  Additional funding has been secured by U.S. Representative Maurice D. Hinchey, NYS Senator John J. Bonacic and Assemblywoman Aileen M. Gunther.  Sponsorships have also been provided by WSUL/WVOS for Category A projects and by Thunder 102 for Category B projects.

For information, contact 845-295-2445 or