New Life for Old Bank
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A former Elk County bank is getting a makeover and becoming a place that has something for just about everyone. The Elk County National Bank of Ridgway opened in 1895. It printed more than $2 million worth of currency over 41 years. Bob Imhof, member of the board of directors for the Ridgway Heritage Council, said it went from being a bank, to the home of countless different businesses on the second floor. "In my lifetime, there's been a radio station, a sporting goods store, a senior center, a dance studio, a jewelry shop and just about everything you can imagine," Imhof said. Ridgway native Kim Ezell decided the corner of the main intersection in town needed to be brought up to standard. Ezell purchased the former bank last Oct. and took on the project of restoring the bank to its former glory. Ezell currently lives in Texas. She is restoring the mahogany ceiling beams and marble details. "She has a love for the community that she grew up in and that love is translating into the restoration of this significant building to our town," Imhof said. Ezell plans to transform the upstairs into six Airbnb rooms and the first floor into a coffee shop, restaurant and micro brewery. She said the new name will be the Brew Bank. The building sits at the intersection of routes 219, 948 and 120. Imhof said it's often the first thing people see when they enter the town of Ridgway. "With people that are traveling down from Canada, Toronto in particular, or coming up from Washington or Baltimore Ridgway is kind of a centralized location where people stop." Ezell said she's already been permitted for the Airbnb rooms and is waiting to be permitted for the brewery. She anticipates opening in 2019. "It's important to keep your town presentable and to make people want to stop and look at it and say, Boy, this is really nice," Imhof said.