In the community

Meeting to decide future of historic Vale Hotel

The Vale Hotel after it was shuttered. (The Enterprise)

VALE — The community has an opportunity to provide comments on the future of the Vale Hotel Thursday.

Anyone is welcome at the meeting in the Rex Theater from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The Drexel H. Foundation and Rural Development Initiative are hosting the meeting.

The nonprofits will present ideas about how the historic building could be used, listen to community comments, and narrow the list of ideas.

Following the meeting, project managers will conduct market research on the most viable ideas. Residents can participate in the initial market research stage too. The nonprofits will ask local businesses, organizations, and entrepreneurs how feasible they think ideas are and who might be interested in developing.

Mary Bosch, RDI project manager, said that community involvement at this stage is crucial to achieving the best outcome for the building.

“There’s no formula or cookie cutter approach to figuring out how to complete this project,” Bosch said.

For years, Sandijean Fuson, president of the Drexel H. Foundation, has been accumulating ideas about how the historic building could be used to revitalize town.

She has suggested youth entrepreneur spaces, studios for artists, nonprofit partnerships, a community use kitchen, and a conference room for public use as potential uses for the space. Those ideas and others will be discussed at the meeting.

Meeting organizers have sent out a survey seeking community input and ideas prior to the meeting. Light refreshments will be provided.

The hotel, originally named the Drexel Hotel, was built in 1907 and opened for business the next year. The building has housed businesses such as Tony’s Barber Shop, Red Robin Café, U.S. Bank, and Greyhound Bus.

In 1930, the Great Depression forced the Drexel Hotel to close. It reopened in 1940 as the Vale Hotel. The interior was remodeled during the 1960s, but the hotel closed in 1969 and has remained vacant since. The building was listed by the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.