A group of residents led by Saugerties Chamber of Commerce chair Mark Smith would like to purchase the Dragon Inn and save it from the bulldozer.
“We saw it done by residents who wanted to save the Saugerties Lighthouse, and we saw it again when history buffs organized to save the Kiersted House from being torn down to make way for a supermarket,” Smith said.
Smith’s plan calls for the formation of the Clovelea Conservancy, which, he hopes, will be able to get a mortgage and purchase the building and property from owner Ching Ya Wu.
Wu has given no indication if he would be willing to sell the property, which has been on the market with an asking price of about $1 million. However, the group might not have to deal with Wu, but with a lending institution that holds his mortgage and which has sent notice of intent to foreclose for failure to make his mortgage payments. Owner Ching Ya Wu’s representative Donald Snyder would not comment further on that issue.
“I see Clovelea as Saugerties’ Wilderstein,” Smith said, referring to the Dutchess County estate-turned-tourist-destination.
Smith said he would love to see the conservancy use state, federal and private funding and grants to restore the Gilded Age mansion to its former glory. It could then be used for special events and open to tourists. As with the Lighthouse, a restored Clovelea could bring in money as a B&B in the future, said Smith.
The group has no affiliation with the Saugerties Area Chamber of Commerce.
Anyone interested in joining the Conservancy in their efforts can contact Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.