ENDICOTT – Monica Jordan has seen the Community Meeting Hall on Lincoln Avenue bursting with pinks and blues for baby showers, glowing with white lights during Christmas parties and filled with music and dancing during weddings.
In the three years Jordan has been at the helm as banquet facility coordinator, business at the hall has been quietly booming. The weekends fill up fast, and she has already locked in four weddings for next year, in addition to two that are pending.
Tucked in back of the Endicott Visitor Center, the village-owned Community Meeting Hall draws remarks from visitors who call it a hidden gem of the area, said Jordan, 51, of Endicott.
The venue has grown from hosting about four weddings a year when Jordan started to a dozen in 2013, with everything from fundraisers to birthday parties and an array of other events filling up the weekends.
Last month, the village board approved a resolution permitting the banquet hall to apply for its own liquor license. Under current policy, guests who pay to hold events at the hall can bring their own beer and wine, but they have to apply to the state for a one-day permit.
With the uptick in the number of weddings and other events recently, the facility this year reached the maximum number of one-day permits allowed by the state annually.
Trustee Eileen Konecny, who chairs the Endicott Visitor Center Advisory Committee, said the move to a year-round liquor license would make the banquet hall more attractive to potential renters.
The hall would remain under the “bring your own alcohol” premise, but the application process to have alcohol would be quicker for renters, and the hall would sidestep the risk of possibly having to turn away renters after reaching the state cap on one-day permits.
Konecny said the expectation isn’t to gain large amounts of revenue, though the goal in general is turn a profit.
The budget for the Endicott Visitor Center as a whole this year is close to $64,000, a portion of which is covered by grant money. Banquet hall renters bring their own food and drinks, and do their own decorating and clean-up. Jordan and another part-time employee are the only staffers on the hall’s payroll. Jordan’s salary was listed around $19,000 for 2012.
The Visitor Center, including the museum, has projected revenues this year of $36,000.
Konecny said the board had been concerned about the liability issue involved with obtaining a year-round license for the hall, but because guests who choose to bring their own alcohol would be required to present their homeowner’s insurance card, liability would be shifted away from the village and onto the renter.
Jordan said acquiring a liquor license wouldn’t change the types of functions held in the hall or the rules and standards that parties there are required to follow.
She said the hall’s growing popularity is due in part to the niche it fills in the community as an open, smaller-scale venue that is economical.
During weekends, the charge to rent the hall, which can hold up to 100 people, is $60 an hour hour, including set-up and cleanup time. The rate for weddings is $70 an hour, though renters can also opt for the all-day, 10-hour rate of $600.
Events during the week vary in cost, but the standard charge for weekday meetings is $55 for three hours.
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