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Volunteers try to save Old West Hill School building

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Albany/HV: Volunteers try to save Old West Hill School building
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Imagine if a landmark you, your parents and your grandparents grew up with was torn down. Well, as YNN's Maria Valvanis explains, that could happen in the Village of Canajoharie and it's up to volunteers to stop it.

CANAJOHARIE, N.Y. -- Montgomery County historian Kelly Yacobucci Farquhar said, "It overlooks the village, so when you're driving into the village, that's one of the first things you see."

But you might not see it for much longer. The old West Hill School Building has been vacant for the past four years and now the village has gained ownership of the building.

Canajoharie Mayor Francis Avery said, "We'd like to see it preserved if we can and certainly see it back on the tax roll."

"If we take this down, we're just going to be a town you drive through to get to Cooperstown or Saratoga. We're trying to prevent that," said volunteer Hein Kraak.

Volunteers have agreed to try to re-stabilize the building at no cost to the village. They hope by doing so, they'll be able to attract a buyer, a win-win for the entire community.

"School taxes, village taxes, Montgomery County taxes and jobs. We need lots of jobs," said Kraak.

"It’s the earliest existing educational building. Served as a school for over a 100 years. Very important landmark in the village," said Yacobucci Farquhar.

But volunteers must stick to a tight schedule. If they haven't made significant strides within the next year, the village could put an end to the entire project.

Mayor Avery said, "In a year, we would re-examine and see what they've done. A foreclosure on our part would be the worst case scenario."

Because not only would all that hard work go down the drain, but neighbors tell us the village would also be losing out on quite a few visitors.

"It can be seen from the Thruway way and seen from downtown and I see out of plate cars stop here all the time," said John Walsh.

So village leaders want to make sure that the Old West Hill school building, will remain the first thing you see as you drive into the village.

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