Crews scheduled to break ground on Denver House Monday

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DENVER, Pa. -- A non-profit organization is tearing down the Denver House in Lancaster County, a 150-year-old building that used to be a popular hotel and bar back in the 1800’s. Crews are set to break ground Monday.

The project that was originally going to cost  $1.7 million dollars, but has climbed up to $3.5 million.

Courtney Rittenour is the manager of Courtyard Cafe on Main Street. Down the road is an empty building she's very familiar with.

“Oh yeah, and I grew up on 6th street so it’s kind of been a part of my life,” Rittenour said.

The Denver House was built in 1863. It was an old hotel and bar.

”Back in it’s day it was the hallmark of Denver,” Rod Redcay, Executive Director of Real Life Community Services, said. “It was the most beautiful building in our community.”

Unfortunately, it didn't stay that way.

“This building, like many of its kind, has been changed over to a boarding house and a bar,” Redcay said. So unfortunately, this particular facility has become very blighted. It has become more infested with drug activity.”

Real Life Community Services, a non-profit organization that helps youth and at risk families in need, has big plans for the building, which is now the worst blighted property, and the highest police call volume in the Borough.

They're going to tear it down and rebuild it, doubling the square footage to 18 thousand feet, where it will be home to ten full apartments, social service offices, and a medical center. Plus an extra 1,500 square feet for retail space in the front.

“It’s a no brainer for us to see that opportunity and the community is so supportive of what we’re doing and rallying behind us,” Redcay said.

“I’m excited for this for Denver,” Rittenour said. “I think it’s a step in the right direction and just bringing more attention to Denver as well because I feel like were just this little town that sits off.”

While the building was never in the national historic registry, architects are designing the outside to make it look like it did 100 years ago. And with a new look, comes a new name. Redcay plans on calling it the “Declaration House” when it's complete, which will hopefully be next summer.

Real Life Community Services is $750,000 away from reaching its goal. If you’d life to donate, visit their website.

The ground breaking ceremony is happening Monday, September 17th at 1 p.m. at 240 Main Street in Denver.

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