Corry’s passionate local business owner | New
Over the past few years, Corry has undergone a facelift.
Whether in neighborhoods or the business district, many Corryites devote time, energy and money to improving the buildings where they live and work. Much of the improvement is due to various grants that reduce the expense of upgrades.
William “Buzz” Hammond is a real estate owner who is excited about the improvement projects throughout Corry. When Covid restrictions were lifted last year, Hammond embarked on the process of renovating both feet.
With the exception of obtaining his commerce degree from Robert Morris University, Hammond has spent his entire life living and working at Corry. He and his wife Miki are involved in a number of businesses in Corry, including Hiram’s Marketplace and Pipit’s.
“I’ve been doing this my whole life,” Hammond said. “When I was 8 my grandfather and I bought the first building together here in Corry. This is how it started.
William “Wally” Hammond instilled a strong work ethic in his grandson. Hammond’s father, William “Bill” Hammond, began building and renovating homes when Buzz was very young.
“My grandparents and parents had a lumber yard and we started building houses,” Hammond explained. “Over the years we have acquired some real estate and we want ours to be absolutely the best it can be.”
Hammond has seen property improvement grant opportunities arise in the city before.
“Fifteen years ago, they had a downtown grant, a little different than it is now, where they gave everyone $ 500 to paint or repair the facades of buildings,” Hammond explained. “We went through and did this.”
But nothing in the past compares to the current grant initiatives available to home and business owners.
“Corry is very lucky that Impact Corry, the Corry Community Foundation and the Redevelopment Authority got together and decided they needed someone to lead all these little groups that wanted to do things in town. “said Hammond. “They hired Chuck Gray and in my opinion she is one of the best things that has happened to the community.
“She is always aggressively looking for ways to help the community. Well, she found the Mission Main Street program and this program has helped business owners and property owners with cleaning and repairing – all facade work – paint, glass, awnings and so on. They will match up to $ 12,400. We took advantage of it.
But downtown businesses weren’t the only recipients of grants.
“Thanks to Impact Corry, Chuck Gray found the Neighborhood Initiative and it’s been fabulous,” said Hammond. “We were involved in this because we also have residential rental properties. We had new roofs, gutters, windows, driveways and sidewalks for two of our plots.
Hammond has received positive feedback on Corry’s commitment to improvement.
“Even though there are positive comments about the downtown area, we get so many positive comments about the good things that are happening in the neighborhoods,” he said.
Hammond explained that Impact Corry spoke to business owners and asked them what they wanted to do to improve their storefronts and if they wanted to participate in the Mission Main Street program.
Impact Corry hired an artist to create renderings of what the buildings might look like after upgrades. Sherwin Williams aided the process by putting together historically correct color combinations.
Homeowners can look at the book, choose the combination, and that gives the city some continuity.
Many traders took advantage of the opportunity.
“A number of people have signed up and our hope is that this is a multi-year program and those who didn’t sign up in this round will do so in the next round,” said Hammond. “Hopefully the program continues. I hope everyone will participate because they should. It will make a big difference to the community. “
Over the past year, Hammond has wasted renovation time due to Covid restrictions. But once he and his crew were able to get started, the upgrades came quickly and furiously.
“We have made new paint and window upgrades on H&R Block. In the Great Lakes building, we replaced brick with stucco, ordered new awnings and insulated windows upstairs. Whistle Stop has all new windows and paint. We just painted Gonstead Chiropractic, and Little Annie will have a whole new paint job this year and all new windows next year.
The old Johnson’s bookstore was a much larger project.
“We rebuilt everything from the basement to the roof because the roof and the back wall had collapsed. The building now has a whole new facade, awnings and windows.
As Hammond continues to improve his path on Center Street, improvements to the facades of Hiram’s Marketplace and Pipit’s will be next on the list. Meerhoff’s and Barista’s Roast will be renovated next year.
And it’s not just Hammond making improvements downtown.
“It’s true what people say – if you fix your house, your neighbor will want to participate as well,” Hammond said.
“Josh Dyne and others are doing a terrific job on South Center Street, and there are pockets of homeowners on Main Street who do great repairs as well.
“Right now, thanks to the leadership of a few groups in town, everyone has a positive attitude about where they live and how they want to contribute to how they can fix it. It infiltrates downtown. It’s seeping into the neighborhoods – there’s a lot to do at the city level, and it seems everyone is trying.
Hammond is quick to say that Corry has been a great place to live, learn and work.
“We have a great school system, great people. Corry has been good to us, so now, rather than taking dollars out of town, we’re putting them back into Corry.
“I want to do everything in town. Then everyone will say they love going to Corry because it’s so nice. If everyone does something in turn – whether it’s their city, their job, their church, whatever – it’s all going to happen. We have to go if we want to make this community what it can be. “