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Keeping the grass roots growing!!

Metamora DDA pledges $300,000 toward White Horse restoration (From the June 9th County Press)

BY KRYSTAL JOHNS 810 452 2601 kjohns@mihomepaper.com

Photo by Krystal Johns ]" href="http://mcp.mihomepaper.com/sites/thecountypress.mihomepaper.com/files/images/2013-06-09/2p1.jpg""><br / Victor Dzenowagis and Linda Egeland envision a rustic yet elegant ... Victor Dzenowagis and Linda Egeland envision a rustic yet elegant feel for the White Horse Inn once it reopens. This room, which they are calling the Hunt Room, is upstairs and could be used for small gatherings. Photo by Krystal Johns METAMORA — Things are galloping along at the White Horse, and Victor Dzenowagis and Linda Egeland are encouraged by the community’s support of the project.

Just this week, the Metamora Downtown Development Authority met at the old restaurant to discuss its future, and authorized a $300,000 contribution to the massive restoration and renovation effort to bring the building back up to usable standards.

Dzenowagis and Egeland said they are also applying for a state Community Development Block Grant for $200,000- $300,000 but they are not 100% sure they will get it yet.

“We have had several meetings, and we’re optimistic,” Dzenowagis said.

Photo by Krystal Johns ]" href="http://mcp.mihomepaper.com/sites/thecountypress.mihomepaper.com/files/images/2013-06-09/2p2.jpg""><br / Couples will be able to rent out this private room with a romantic... Couples will be able to rent out this private room with a romantic table for two once the White Horse Inn reopens. Linda Egeland has dubbed it the Godiva Room because of the tapestry on the wall. Photo by Krystal Johns At this point in the planning process, Dzenowagis and Egeland said the intention is to keep and restore the main historically significant structure, which is the part closest to the intersection of Oak and High Streets, and the eastern part of the structure, which was added on at some point, will be taken down and rebuilt. The couple has plans to incorporate a courtyard and outdoor seating, and local wood from their nearby property will also be used in the design. Indoors, the restaurant will offer everything from a waiting area where people can sit and have a cocktail while waiting for their table on busy nights to a bar, banquet room, smaller meeting room and even a private room with a romantic table for two.

The meeting room and the small two-top were set up so people could get an idea of the “feel” the new owners are going for: rustic yet simply elegant, historic charm meshed with modern comforts.

“We wanted to give people a little idea of what it could be — the hunt-type feel,” said Egeland. “They liked it.”

The goal is to get funding in place and start the actual demolition and construction projects this fall, likely in September. The couple feels embraced by the community and doesn’t want to let anyone down.

Dzenowagis called it “daunting” to be working with the tax dollars of their neighbors and friends and said it makes them want to be the best stewards possible.

“The meeting was really inspiring. Both Vic and I feel a deep responsibility and obligation to deliver everything these people expect,” Egeland said. “These people have faith in us here that we will deliver.”

“And we will,” promised Dzenowagis.

The old building has more than its fair share of problems, and it’s getting worse. In recent weeks part of the ceiling has fallen in, and the basement has been flooded, but the couple still sees its beautiful potential.

“We’re getting attached to it the more and more time we spend here,” said Egeland. “It’s important to us to keep the spirit the same.”

And speaking of spirits... alleged ghostly inhabitant, original owner Lorenzo Hoard, lost his boots sometime after the place closed in November, so Egeland brought in a new pair to place at the top of the stairs for him. She’s not certain, but thinks they may have crossed paths.

“Things have been moved,” she said. “I think someone’s messing with me.”

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