An Elmhurst landmark will get some upgrades, but it needs help from the community first.
Constructed in the 1920s, the former Elks Lodge at 82-10 Queens Blvd. was designated a City landmark in 2001. According to Landmarks Preservation Commission documents, some of the features that earned the building its designation include a bronze elk statute at its entrance, ornate carvings around its entryway and its brick, limestone and granite façade.
Today, these designs are somewhat daunted by the current of traffic on Queens Boulevard and the crowd of neighboring buildings. Meanwhile, certain elements of the lodge are falling into disrepair; bricks have slipped out of the exterior walls and some balustrades are chipped or missing.
Nevertheless, it is a building busy with activity, and one of the several groups that use the Elks Lodge have found a way to restore it to its former state.
Last year, the New Life Community Development Corporation applied for a grant to restore the building with the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
“We thought, maybe they would throw us a bag of cement or a couple of shovels or something,” New Life CDC executive director Redd Sevilla said.
Instead, in December, Parks awarded New Life CDC a matching grant of $500,000 for the restoration.
It was “the miracle that happened on Queens Boulevard,” Sevilla said.
According to Parks spokesman Randy Simons, the grant constitutes a 75 percent reimbursement of the total project cost, up to $500,000. This means that a restoration costing $666,667 would achieve the full $500,000 reimbursement, with New Life CDC fronting the initial cost and ultimately paying the difference.
New Life CDC has until the end of 2015 to fundraise for the project.