Saturday December 29, 2012

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HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. -- A year's worth of renovations will be on display during New Year's Eve at the Hoosick Falls Country Club, where recent improvements have allowed the club to remain open year-round -- not for golf, but for private functions and lunch or dinner.

Work has proceeded over the course of 2012 winterizing the clubhouse as well as adding a full-service kitchen. Marcus Martinez, a member of the country club's board, characterized the renovations as a complete "revitalization." As a result, revelers will be able to ring in 2013 locally with dinner, dancing, and a champagne toast at midnight with the proceeds split between the club and the Hoosic River Greenway.

Tickets for Monday's celebration are still available with the $50 per person cost including a buffet-style dinner, entertainment, and a flute of bubbly.

Ric DiDonato, a village trustee and greenway committee member who is set to provide the evening's music, said the newly available wintertime venue was a welcomed addition in Hoosick Falls.

"That's one of the big things for me," DiDonato said, speaking to the benefits of not having to travel far to celebrate the New Year. As opposed to Saratoga Springs or Albany, "it's really nice they're doing a nice event where people don't have to travel," he said.

In November, village officials awarded the club $30,000 out of the village's economic development fund to aid with the improvements. As one stipulation for those funds, DiDonato said work at the club had resulted in several new part-time and full-time jobs.

Martinez said the building improvements were prompted by several years of declining membership. "We needed to get more people up there playing golf," he said by telephone Thursday. When the country club's 9-hole course previously closed from November through March, the rest of the club closed with it (except for casual sledding or cross-country skiing). Now, the clubhouse remains open and offers a full menu for lunch and dinner, prepared by esteemed local chef and caterer Jeff Babson, who previously ran Babson's Classic Cafe and the Fox Hollow Restaurant.

The country club was first open for food in July. "The big thing this year is trying to stay open," said Martinez. To date, he said the club's board was happy with the progress. "It's been a good year."

By offering a full menu, the broader community has more opportunity to visit. Membership fees have also been reduced, and Martinez stressed the country club is public, not private. Looking ahead, he said future work would go toward finishing the reconstruction and purchasing new equipment.

Through the winter, the Hoosick Falls Country Club offers lunch Wednesday through Friday beginning at 11:30 a.m. Winter hours for dinner run from Tuesday through Saturday starting at 4:30 p.m. New Year's Eve tickets are available at the village offices, the Hoosick Falls Country Club, and Thorpe's Pharmacy; or by calling the village offices at 518-686-7072.