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Town Trying to Find New Home for Croton-Cortlandt Center for the Arts

A Jan. 3 fire at 293 Furnace Dock Road destroyed the building that housed the Croton-Cortlandt Center for the Arts.
A Jan. 3 fire at 293 Furnace Dock Road destroyed the building that housed the Croton-Cortlandt Center for the Arts.
Local officials are committed to finding a new home for the Croton-Cortlandt Center for the Arts. A Jan. 3 fire destroyed the building that housed it for the last 20 years.

"Nothing was salvageable after the fire," center staff members said in a statement. Not the easels, paints or brushes used for painting programs; not the pottery wheels and kiln; not the computers and software used for computer animation and cartoon courses. 

Organizers are "working diligently to relocate winter classes," according to a note on the organization's website. The center paid the Town of Cortlandt $1 per year to use the building at 293 Furnace Dock Road in Charles Cook Memorial Park. There, teachers and students—from youngsters to adults—gathered for art classes. 

"It’s a total loss. It’s very sad to the teachers, to the director, to the students," Supervisor Linda Puglisi said. "...Now we’re trying to find them a new home."

The 700-square foot building, which was at least 30 years old and once housed the town's recreation department, was demolished in the blaze.

"It would be too costly [to rebuild]," Puglisi told Patch.

No one was in the building when the fire started. The call came in around 10:30 a.m. The cause is still under investigation, but officials say it may have started because of an oil burner malfunction.
  
"We had two firetrucks responding within two minutes after being dispatched," said Montrose Fire Department's Second Assistant Chief Al Roush, who served as incident commander that day. "On arrival there was heavy smoke coming from the roof area and the right side of the building."

Firefighters were at the scene for more than nine hours. Four sustained minor injuries: two related to the cold weather, one knee injury and one back injury.

Buchanan and Montrose fire departments were at the scene, as was the Mohegan Lake Firefighter Assist and Search (FAST) Team, the Croton FAST team and Cortlandt Ambulance Corps. The Verplanck Fire Department and the Montrose VA Fire Department were on standby.

Puglisi and Gayle Lamb, the center's executive director, praised the firefighters for their efforts.

"cccArts is deeply grateful to the more than 100 firefighters who fought the fire ... under extremely difficult conditions," Lamb said in a press release.

The center is a non-profit corporation. It depends on supporters to fund program and operations, and insurance "will barely begin to cover the replacement of the equipment that is necessary to support a high quality art program for the community," center staff members said.

"Of course," they continued, "no amount of money can replace the original artwork created by instructors and students of all ages that was on display in the art center."

For updates on the relocation, or for more information on making a donation, visit cccarts.org.

James Hamilton January 10, 2014 at 05:56 PM
It's sad for the art community to lose everything but the artist's lives. Hopefully the community will find the resources to take the artist's plight to heart and dig deep to help.
mk January 11, 2014 at 10:41 AM
Shouldn't there be enough building and "tenant" insurance to co ver this? Replacement value??
Lisa zarkower January 11, 2014 at 11:36 AM
This saddens me. My boys had several birthday parties there when they were younger. And as MK said, why not use the insurance money to rebuild? Maybe a fundraising appeal to local residents could help out.
sayitsnotsojack January 11, 2014 at 12:11 PM
The town spent a huge expenditure to build the seldom if any used youth center, the building is going to waste. Let the Art Center move in.

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