Potential purchaser to present on Adams Art Gallery plans

OBSERVER File Photo William Haskas, plusFARM architect, is hoping to purchase the Adams Art Gallery and use it as a facility to provide programming for children, students and adults in the areas of art and architecture, events and performance-type programming.

With the first signs of Dunkirk’s rebirth, there is also hope for a resurrection of one of the city’s landmarks — the Adams Art Gallery.

Located on Central Avenue, the historic former church has sat vacant, further deteriorating. Now there is a group interested in purchasing the building from its owners, Access to the Arts.

William Haskas, plusFARM architect, said he will be presenting plans for the gallery at today’s Economic Development Committee meeting, scheduled for 4 p.m. at city hall.

“The building obviously has been neglected and there’s a considerable amount of work that has to go into restoring and renovating the building. However, based on our work with the (Northern Chautauqua) Community Foundation and the (SUNY Fredonia) Incubator, it seems that this project will align perfectly with regional funding cycles that we’ll begin to apply for once we take over ownership of the building. The city of Dunkirk has asked us to present our concept for the reuse of the building. What makes this meeting really important is there are some urgent repairs that need to happen to the Adams before the winter comes. Unfortunately, nine years of neglect, the building has really been exposed to freeze-thaw cycles. So the purpose of this meeting is to get the city of Dunkirk to authorize and to support the transition of the Adams to plusFARM. That way we can take over the building and begin making those necessary repairs,” Haskas told the OBSERVER.

Haskas, a Gowanda native now living in Brooklyn, said he understands skepticism about plans for the long-vacant structure, but encourages all those interested to attend the presentation, listen and ask questions.

“The current owner has done very little with the building and it has sat vacant for nine years. We are prepared to step forward and open the doors to the Adams in early 2018 and restore it to an active arts education center. Our concept plan is to provide programming for children, students and adults in the areas of art and architecture, events and performance-type programming. We’re going to be utilizing the building in a very similar way to the way it was being utilized 15 years ago to provide that type of program for the community,” he added.

The Common Council workshop and meeting will follow the committee meeting at 5 and 5:30 p.m., respectively. The council will vote on three resolutions pertaining to the acceptance of the 2018 budget, as well as hear a communication that Citizens Hose Co. 2 and Daniel F. Anson Hose Co. 3 have disbanded, along with other business.


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