Trillium rising

Cherry Creek restaurant gets tax breaks for rebuild

Photo by Jimmy McCarthy Rebuilding the Trillium Lodge in Cherry Creek is moving forward after a tragic fire in May. Deb Bernard, owner, said she’s hoping to have the restaurant open by the Thanksgiving season.

A popular business establishment in Cherry Creek is receiving county assistance for its rebuild after a devastating fire in May.

The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency’s Board of Directors unanimously approved tax breaks for the Trillium Lodge at a special meeting Friday in Jamestown. The restaurant, located on Main Street in the village, is in rebuild mode after a blaze destroyed much of the structure on May 1. Approximately 100 firefighters from 14 companies were called to battle the blaze.

Specifically, the board approved to freeze the property tax assessment on the newly constructed building for 10 years. The freeze would keep the building’s assessment at the value before the fire occurred. Property taxes would be paid based on the annual applicable rate of that value.

The board also granted sales tax breaks on materials to bring back the establishment. The approximate value of the sales tax break is $26,000.

Owner Deb Bernard came before the board to discuss the rebuilding and how the community has rallied behind her business. Along with the local people interested in the reconstruction, outside visitors who have frequented the restaurant have also come to check out the progress.

“It’s been amazing… truly amazing,” she said. “The amount of support has been overwhelming to me.”

Joining Bernard were Bill Young, Cherry Creek town supervisor; Bruce Hendricks, Cherry Creek mayor; and John Kuzdale, attorney representing Bernard. Young and Hendricks voiced their support for the reconstruction and the property assessment freeze to allow Bernard to bring back an important piece of the community.

“The Trillium has filled a very important and necessary area of community activities and we’re very hopeful this will continue when they’re fully reconstructed,” Hendricks said.

Young voiced his excitement between the Trillium Lodge’s rebuilding and new investors for Cockaigne Ski Area.

“We want life to be brought back into the county,” Young said.

With rebuilding underway and tax breaks approved, Bernard said she’s hoping to have the establishment open sometime around Thanksgiving. Bernard said the tax breaks were integral to getting her business back up and running.

“I’m very pleased about that,” she said. “If the reassessment would get high, it would be difficult to operate the small business with the potential of taxes going way up.”

George Borrello, county legislator and board member, said the Trillium is a key point within the county’s snowmobile trail system. If the establishment didn’t open back up, he said the county would have lost a number of snowmobilers.

“This is a tremendous project that is key for us in economic development,” he said.

Bernard said around 100 sleds are usually in her parking lot when there’s snow on the ground. The Trillium is also a destination for hunters and motorcyclists and a popular venue for weddings, showers and class reunions among other special events.

“We have the venue to hold a lot of people and it’s become just a gathering place for everybody in the community,” she said.