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Hornell Community Arts Center: A new vision for engagement

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The Hornell Community Arts Center, once known merely as the old Ponderosa, is on the brink of transformation. Three local groups, the YMCA, Hornell Public Library, and Hornell Community Theatre, have united with a proposal to revitalize the Broadway Mall building into a vibrant community hub. Their plan, presented to the Common Council, aims to shift the center from underutilization to a beacon of community engagement.

The collaboration envisions a dynamic space offering a range of activities, from art and music events to cooking classes, aiming to alleviate the city’s space crunch for social gatherings. The YMCA proposes taking over party rentals to streamline scheduling, offering more opportunities for community celebrations. Meanwhile, the library seeks to expand its programming to include more arts, crafts, and teen-focused events, having already utilized the center for various programs due to space limitations.

Challenges such as the building’s dual role as a polling place and the need for capital improvements were acknowledged. Yet, with potential city support and a portion of Hornell’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization grant earmarked for building enhancements, the groups are optimistic. Mayor John Buckley’s vision aligns with this collaborative effort, aiming to offer diverse programming for all ages and transform the Arts Center into a source of pride and activity for the Hornell community.