Elbridge woman looks to preserve her mother’s home, support veterans
By Jason Gabak
When Ruth Kinch looks at her mother’s home on Route 31B in Elbridge, she sees a lot.
She sees fond memories of growing up with a large family, she sees the history associated with the more than 200 year old home and she sees the potential of what the house can be.
According to Kinch, her mother, Marietta Kinch, wanted to preserve her home and wanted to do something to help serve and support veterans.
Kinch said she comes from a family of 18 children and 10 of them served in the military and Kinch’s own son has also gone on to serve.
“This is what my mother wanted,” Kinch said. “A lot of our family has served and this is what my mother wanted to see done with her house.”
The house itself dates back to the early 1800s.
Originally the house was built by Lemuel Crossman as the Crossman Tavern.
Marietta and her husband Stephen bought the house in 1957.
Originally the home was situated on more than 80 acres of property, but now it sits on 1.72 acres, which still provides plenty of space for future growth and expansion to accommodate Marietta’s dream of creating a facility to serve veterans.
The wishes of Marietta inspired the creation of AmeraVets, a non profit organization designed to see this undertaking come to fruition.
The plan calls for the home to be renovated to serve as transitional housing for veterans as well as provide educational and skill based opportunities to help veterans learn skills they can then use in the workforce.
“We want this to be a place where veterans can come and have a place to live for two or three years and they can learn things like computer repair, or mall engine repair or carpentry or go to CCC or OCC and earn a degree,” Kinch said. “This will give them a place to live and learn skills they can use and then get out on their own again.”
While living and working in the home, Kinch envisions veterans being able to take part in the maintenance and upkeep of the property as well as serving as a subcommittee to make decisions about how the facility will operate.
Kinch said she and several others will serve as the board of directors, but she sees the veteran residents making the day to day decisions.
“I want to give them a sense of ownership,” Kinch said. “We really want them to be involved and have a sense of being involved in what is happening here.”
When her mother passed, Kinch said there was a $37,000 mortgage on the house and raising the necessary funds to pay off this debt is the first step to seeing this vision become a reality.
To help raise the necessary funds, Kinch has set up a Go Fund Me page as well as reaching out to local American Legions to share her vision.
In addition Kinch is also seeking out grant opportunities and others interested in volunteering their services in areas such as engineering to explore options on how update the home and convert it into a multi-unit facility.
New York State’s Small Business Development Center at Onondaga Community College has worked with Kinch to develop a long term plan.
Once the mortgage can be paid off, the plan calls for work to begin retrofitting the house.
In the third phase the work would begin to provide housing and educational opportunities and in the fourth phase Kinch said there could be potential for expansion on the property to accommodate as many as 20 veterans.
Kinch said she would need to work with the town of Elbridge on zoning and ensuring everything is up to code as well.
Kinch sees this as a multifaceted project, one that her mother would approve of.
“I want to do what she wanted to see happen,” Kinch said. “A lot of these houses aren’t around anymore and I want to preserve this historic home and still give something back to our community and to the people who have served our country.”
To learn more visit gofundme.com/my-giving-back.