New Masonic Hall Owner Says Plans Are Underway For Arts Center

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If you've gone by the Masonic Hall in Watertown, you know that in a lot of ways, it's in bad shape.

But for new owner Garrett McCarthy, it's whats inside the 100 year old building that counts.

"It's a diamond in the rough, this is sound, the Masons did a fine job of at least making this thing solid," McCarthy said.

The room known as the grand hall is what sold McCarthy on the building he plans to turn into an arts center.

McCarthy isn't sharing the details of his plan just yet, but says he's working on securing grants to cover the roughly $5 million in renovations that the building needs.

"What's happening behind the scenes is the development plan," he said. "That's the unglamorous numbers-crunching as well as information-gathering that's taking place."

The plan has its skeptics, with some city officials saying the building should simply be torn down.

McCarthy says he'll prove them wrong.

"You can't keep knocking things down and what do you expect to be left for the city," he said.

McCarthy says he'll have more details about just what it is he plans to do with the building next month.

Even then, he says, he'll need patience. He expects it will be about two years before an arts center is up and running.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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