NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Newly acquired tax-exempt nonprofit status for Jen’s Community at Wildcliff will enable the organization to raise funds to restore the historic property.
Co-founders Marie Inzinna and Kerrilee Hunter are now raising money for the manor, whose restoration could begin next year pending city approval.
“We have been composing grant applications and in discussions with major donors,” Inzinna said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to now have the impetus to engage in local fundraising.”
“The bones of our mission are to preserve the legacy of Wildcliff and help people make positive changes for themselves through an engagement with nature; we will reach that goal through a nature-based preschool, community programs involving all ages, and sustainability education,” she said.
The manor was designed by architect Alexander Davis in the 1850s, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the organization said. The building, on 1.23 acres of waterfront property at 44 Wildcliff Road, was used as a private home before it was given to the city in 1940.
The building has been used as a children’s science museum, a nature center and a theater. The theater structure, built in 1977, has since been demolished, and the building is now vacant. The nonprofit Jen’s Community at Wildcliff plans to renovate it as an education center, with the first phase being a private preschool.
Local volunteers planted the first garden the building has had in several years at a plant ’n’ picnic event in the spring. The garden had heirloom tomatoes and dragon’s tongue beans a couple months later.