Epicenter grand opening
Green River is the site for the new Epicenter. This stands for the Economic Progress Instigation Center. A Grand Opening was held during Melon Days in Green River. Festivities begin at 6 pm with a ribbon cutting ceremony with Mayor Pat Brady, an open house, and live music on into the night. Many supporters along with many other Epicenter founders, allies, friends, and family were on hand for the celebration. The Grand Opening celebrates the end of a year-long renovation of 180 South Broadway, a historic 105-year-old building, into the Epicenter office.
The Epicenter is a community-based affordable housing, small business resource, and cultural center. This three-pronged focus is achieved through
creating affordable, durable, and efficient housing, supporting entrepreneurs and small business development, partnering with allied organizations, and instigating events that encourage activity in Green River.
The members of the Epicrew value the positive effects of collaboration, community participation, local solutions, and working with their hands. Epicenter believes in socially responsible design for businesses, families, and individuals in Green River. They believe in positive activism in their community, working collaboratively with community partners, and developing relationships with the residents they serve. Epicenter is a leader in providing environmentally responsive, socially appropriate, and economically beneficial design solutions that improve quality of life.
The Epicenter will also serve as a welcome area for the passengers who are catching the train and disembarking the train in Green River. In the past train passengers didn't have any type of waiting area. Now they will be able to walk to the Epicenter on Broadway.
The Epicenter will continue to write grants and hold fund raisers as they work to bring about their goals for Green River residents. Chief among these goals is the process of developing affordable housing for Green River residents. The Epicenter will work with the Department of Agriculture on the development of homes where those who are working towards home ownership will work on their home as well as other homes as a type of sweat equity and investment towards their future.
The Epicenter secured a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development for $88,800. This money has been used for the renovation of the building and funds are left over for the operating fees for one year. Since the Epicenter was established 30 families have applied for the affordable housing programs and the HEAT program. These applicants have attended home ownership and financial literacy courses and have been educated on individual development accounts. The Epicenter also serves as a satellite office for the Habitat for Humanity. Another hat the Epicenter is wearing is a design/marketing office for local business. They offer financial and business planning for businesses along with the BEAR program which is the Business Expansion and Retention Program. Three businesses so far have been helped by the design marketing and business planning at the Epicenter. With the new building to act as a hub for all these activities the Epicenter will continue to grow and expand services for the citizens of Green River.
As Green River moves into the future, it remembers its past as the remodeling of the Epicenter building is part of a movement to restore Broadway and bring in new businesses as well as support the current businesses on the street. Green River has a rich and varied past and the Epicenter building has been a part of Green River since its construction in 1904.
The building served as a hardware store where the black sign on the south side read: "Merriell-Bolinger Lbr. Co., HARDWARE, Stoves, tents, wagons, buggies, wire paint, oil, and glass"
At one point in time a warehouse used to adjoin the rear of the building.
At some point in time the central heating system (fireplace) was updated to a coal furnace, located in the basement close to the front. At this time, a new fireplace was built approximately along the north wall, and the old one was removed. All new ducting was installed. The old heating grate was removed and the flooring in-filled. It is assumed the coal storage was at this time built in the basement, with a light well remodeled into a coal chute on the south side for the supply.
At some point in the buildings history, the facade and entry was removed and replaced. Originally, the front had an indention into the facade which served as the covered entry, and the door was set back three feet into the building. The building now has an all glass front.
After the building's use as a hardware store it became the Charles Spadafora Billiard Hall; the sign which can still be read today said, "BILLIARD ROOM, TOBACCO, CIGARS/CANDY, COLD DRINKS, ICE CREAM".
At one-time the building served as a Grocery Store and an amusement Hall for the general public. Other uses have included: 1950s: Tony Spadafora's Paradise Club; 1960s: Pat's Bar; holes were cut into the floor for bar accoutrement to reach the refrigerator added in the basement; late 1960s (6 mos. duration): Youth club operated by Ben Coomer; 1970s: plumbing supply store; 1980s: owned by Rita Jukes and used for storage of potato chips distribution business.
From 1985 until now the building has sat vacant. The building was owned by Glenn and Jo Baxter and plans for it to be an art studio never developed. The Baxters sold the building to the Epicenter.
This renovation project was necessary to keep the building from falling into complete disrepair. The repair of the roof and the foundation wall was necessary to prevent the building from further deterioration and eventual collapse. The building has been vacant for 15 years but now the renovation project has breathed new life into the historic building.
Saving this building from eventual demise is in the spirit of Broadway revitalization and will maintain the last of a few buildings still existing on Broadway. The renovated building will maintain the character of the old building, and necessary updates have been made in the spirit of the building while capitalizing on the technologies and materials of the modern era.
If you would like more information on the Epicenter and its activities call 435-381-3330.