A story on page 9 of this week’s issue of The Ukrainian Weekly provides yet another example of the amazing work that members of our Ukrainian diaspora continue to take on despite the difficult circumstances surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The New York Branch of Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization recently kicked off a $1.5 million renovation of its headquarters building (“domivka”) in the heart of the Ukrainian Village in Manhattan. That’s right – $1.5 million. It’s a massive investment. And while raising that amount of money is certainly an ambitious and noteworthy feat, it is telling that more than $700,000 has already been raised for the effort.
While there is still a lot of work to be done to finish raising the funds needed to complete the project, raising that amount of money is yet another example that, even 30 years after Ukraine has become an independent nation, our diaspora is still willing to support various Ukrainian causes and organizations. And it is a great cause. The renovation includes a complete gutting of the building.
The renovation will include a major clean-up of the building. Historic documents and other valuable materials will be archived, the walls will be reconstructed, an old elevator and shaft which were no longer functioning will be repurposed for more meeting rooms and the entire building will be equipped with 21st-century technology, including a new HVAC system, as well as enhanced security and safety systems.
The old domivka was also very cramped for Plast scouts and their families. Many had to meet in different locations, and family members often had to wait in cramped corridors for weekly meetings to conclude. As a result of the renovation, the number of meeting rooms will be increased from 8 to 15, and a café and two welcome centers (one on each floor), where guests can wait comfortably, will also be included.
It is no small feat to raise $1.5 million for a community cause precisely at a time when many organizations are struggling as a result of the ongoing pandemic. Getting even half way to that amount during the pandemic says a lot about the leadership of the Plast New York Branch and the community that has come together to support the cause. As the story illustrates, the domivka, located on the corner of 9th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan, has a long history and has undergone previous iterations, notably as a pool hall and earlier as a theater when it was built in 1904.
We encourage our readers to help support the cause in any way they can. For those who would like additional information about the project or who would like to see detailed plans with room layouts, they can visit the website www.plastnyc.org. Donations to the renovation project can be made online at http://www.plastnyc.org/renovation, or by check payable to Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization U.S.A. and sent to the following address: Lida Nolan, treasurer, 848 South Long Beach Ave., Freeport, NY, 11520.