Keeping an eye on the Elks Lodge downtown
If you’ve been paying attention to your community newspaper, you’ll know the Elks Lodge 182 in downtown Lock Haven is operating now as a club and not a public venue.
The “Main Event” isn’t open for future rental, in other words.
The Elks Lodge has a long and wonderful history in downtown — on Main Street.
Run by a volunteer board, the organization in recent decades has struggled to make ends meet, especially once it upgraded to include an elevator and other renovations.
Volunteers are just that — volunteers.
They work hard to make things work — in this case, a very important venue that has attracted a multitude of people to wedding receptions, musical and entertainment performances, and of course club activities and fundraisers.
But COVID-19 has not been nice to the Elks Lodge.
Here’s what lodge Exalted Ruler and Manager Sherri Walison told us for a Page A1 story recently: “Basically what it’s come down to is that, because we had so many restrictions in the last year, due to the slowdown during and after (the pandemic)… we are going to close the club,” she said.
The lodge itself isn’t doomed, she emphasized
“The club is the bar area and the lodge is us operating as the Elks,” she said.
Meanwhile, the property is up for sale.
It’s rumored that a sale is pending.
Who is buying it remains to be seen.
What they will do with it remains to be seen.
The building is listed by Don Cortese of Mericle Commercial Real Estate for $324,750. The 19,196 square foot, two story space features two bars, a commercial kitchen and dining areas, an outdoor patio space and 25 parking spaces.
Walison said she will honor three events that are renting the space into November. However, she will not be booking anymore events for the space.
We remind everyone that the Elks Lodge has brought people into downtown for decades.
It is a driver of traffic and, to a varying extent, it generates economic activity for businesses around it.
Its more recent claim to fame is as the hub for the growing and ever-popular LH JAMS concerts in mid-August.
There is nothing like it downtown.
And just as the state Wine and Spirits store will move off Main Street, we’re also saddened at the prospect the lodge won’t operate as a public venue if it’s sold.
To be sure, that remains to be seen.
The glass half full approach is that something very exciting is in store for the building.
We hope that’s the case as the downtown continues to see new stores and a low vacancy rate.