MILTON — A $150,000 capital campaign to renovate a historic Milton building is off to a strong start, thanks to a $50,000 contribution from the Degenstein Foundation of Sunbury.
George Venios, executive director of The Improved Milton Experience (TIME), announced during Thursday’s opening edition of the summer Family Fun Night series that the organization was launching a campaign to raise the funds needed to renovate a South Front Street building known as the Miltonian.
The Family Fun Night series will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. each Thursday, through Aug. 22, in the area of the Milton Moose Family Center. The festivities will include an open house at the Milton Model Train Museum, located on the third floor of the Moose, from 5:30 to 6:30 each week.
Milton’s annual Music in the Park series will also take place from 6:30 to 8 during the festivities. Thursday’s opening edition, featuring Milltown Blues, was moved inside the Moose due to a steady rain which was falling in the area.
On weeks when the skies are clear, bands will perform in an area next to the Miltonian which has been named River View Park.
“We are announcing today a $150,000 capital campaign to create what we’re calling River View Park and to renovate the historic Miltonian building,” Venios said. “(The building) once served as the municipal building until the 1930s. Borough hall was there, along with the police station and jail.”
The Miltonian Fire Department operated out of the building until the early 1970s, Venios said. TIME acquired the property in 2007.
“We had been using it as a warehouse since then,” Venios said.
He credited Ray Rugh, Ken Gaugler and other volunteers from the Milton Fire Department with helping to maintain the building over the years so that it would not deteriorate.
Renovations to the Miltonian are planned to include the creation of an indoor kitchen to be used for catered events, an outdoor kitchen and patio, as well as handicapped-accessible restrooms.
“This is not a public park,” Venios said. “This is a specific-venue space.”
He expects the catering kitchen to be ready for use by the spring and noted the area being called River View Park will be used for Music in the Park this summer.
“The rest of the building, on the first floor, will remain a large garage bay for flexible use,” Venios explained.
He said the second floor will be renovated into either an apartment, office space or conference room, with the exact use to be determined at a future date.
Venios noted that John McWilliams is working to obtain a designation for the building through the National Register of Historic Places.
He also said volunteers from across the community will be used to help with renovations to the building and the area outside of it.
“It’s not going to be all contracted work,” Venios said. “We intend to use the Milton High School Building Trades students, as well as other teens as we begin our work.”
Fundraising activities to further boost the capital campaign will be announced in the near future.
While the rain put a bit of a damper on the opening edition of Family Fun Night, train museum volunteer Barry Mabus said he was still pleased with those who came to check out the museum.
“We had a woman and her son from Bloomsburg come over (to see the museum),” Mabus said.
In addition to the music and train museum open house, Family Fun Night activities are scheduled to include Milton in Motion Outdoor Wellness activities, Chef’s Pizza Pardee at the Pizza Garden activities, an open house at the Chef’s Place Boiardi Museum and Eatery on the Moose’s second floor and the Jungle Teen Center being open in the Moose basement from 8 to 11 p.m.
The remaining Music in the Park schedule includes: June 20, Crave; June 27, McNett Country Band; July 11, Odyssey; July 18, Kimbo and Bryan; July 25, Pearl and Ivory; Aug. 1, Joe Murray Band; Aug. 8, KJ Reimensnyder Wagner; Aug. 15, Doug McMinn Blues Band; and Aug. 22, to be announced.
Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.