MARK founders to be honored at May 31 gala at Belleayre

The community leaders who founded and funded the MARK Group 30 years ago this month will be honored by the organization at its 30th Anniversary Gala on May 31. Invitations went out this week for the “creative” black tie event to be held at Belleayre Mountain Ski Center’s Discovery Lodge. Honorees expected to be on hand for the event include Cathy Hinkley, Lynn Johnson, Larry Roadman and Richard Sanford. 
Also being honored are Henrietta Farber, Hank Wern, Alta Industries founders Frank Mann, Ed Perazone and Vincent Giacci and NBT Bank. Deceased founders who will be represented by family members include Jeanette Boxer, Ivan Miller and Dawn Roadman.

Progressive group
In announcing the dinner event, MARK Group President JR Lawrence noted that MARK was founded by progressive business and governmental leaders, many of whom supported the group long after its founding.  “Arkville and Margaretville were in dire straits in 1978,” said Lawrence.  “Fire had ravaged Margaretville’s Main Street and the water situation in Arkville was so bad that people were often required to boil it.” Lawrence said that elected officials of both the Margaretville Village Board and the Middletown Town Board came together and appointed a “fact-finding” committee to assess the problems and determine what could be done. Leading business owners including Margaretville Telephone Company’s  Larry Roadman and Lynn Johnson of Titan Drilling in Arkville were joined on the committee by Richard Sanford of the Catskill Mountain News and Pat Sheehan of NBT Bank.  Henry Wern of the Margaretville Department Store and Tom Smith of Delaware Valley Oil Company were also in the fact-finding committee, joined by Bill Hubbell representing the Village of Margaretville and Dan Morse representing the Town of Middletown.
The group worked swiftly and in less than two months held public meetings, collected data, and made a report to both municipalities recommending the development of a new organization to work on economic development initiatives in Arkville and Margaretville.  The town and village acted quickly, appointing the first MARK Board with Richard Sanford as president, Lynn Johnson as vice president and Edna Gavette as secretary/treasurer.  Other members appointed included Bill Hubbell, Dan Morse, Jeanette Boxer, Dawn Roadman, Tom Smith, Bob Lange and Hank Wern.  The organization was further developed in 1983 when, under the direction of leaders who then also included Cathy Hinkley and Ivan Miller, the group was spun off on its own as the M-ARK Project, expanding its territory to cover all of the Town of Middletown and Margaretville, eventually adding Andes, Fleischmanns and Roxbury as well.

Funding assistance
With major commitments of funding from Alta Industries and NBT Bank, as well as from other major business leaders, the group was able to hire a full-time executive director, and tapped Lewis E. Kolar for that post.
The gala at Belleayre, which is being underwritten in part by the Margaretville Telephone Company and Coldwell Banker Timberland Properties, will give the organization another opportunity to share its history, with a display of memorabilia, a souvenir journal, and a DVD covering the last 30 years. 
Ads in the souvenir journal, tickets or raffle donations for the gala may be purchased by calling the MARK Group at 586-3500 or by writing to iris@markproject.org.