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Hancock building to be transformed into gallery

March 22, 2001

Hancock building to be transformed into gallery



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

kimy@herald-mail.com

Naomi Hargett at G.C. Murphy bulidingPhoto: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

The vacant G.C. Murphy building, which in recent years has been home to vagrants and pigeons, will soon house a deli and the work of local artists.

Town officials were finalizing the sale of the two-story building to Naomi Hargett of Warfordsburg, Pa., for $50,000.

Hargett said she wants the building to help revitalize Hancock's downtown and to make it a place people get excited about visiting.

"I want people to say 'Oh, you live in Hancock,'" she said.

The former department store, which had been vacant since February 1997, had became run down and faced possible condemnation.

G.C. Murphy officials donated the building to the town last summer.

The building is structurally sound but will need some work done to add a kitchen and dining room, said Hargett, who is a Hancock Lionness.

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"It requires remodeling but nothing extensive," she said.

She plans to meet with an architect about the design, Hargett said.

Hargett said she will restore the building's facade using inspiration from French architecture.

Patrons will be able to partake of sandwiches and artwork, which will be available for purchase, she said.

Hancock Mayor Daniel Murphy said he was delighted to hear Hargett's plans for the building.

"It's a wonderful fit. It's the right kind of place that will fit in with business we want to attract," he said.

He said it was his hope that Hargett's business would not only bring in tourists, but would encourage residents to visit the downtown.

The business will be a family enterprise and her children will pitch in with cooking and remodeling, Hargett said

She anticipates opening in late spring, she said.

Hargett and her husband previously ran a restaurant and night club in Baltimore, she said.

"We had been looking for a property (in Hancock) for years but we couldn't find anything big enough," said Hargett.

She said she picked the G.C. Murphy building because of its size and its history.

"I was afraid they'd wind up tearing it down and build a park. We need commerce," she said.

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