Ruins Hall, a public arts haven, receives $1 million grant for repairs

Noel Miller
York Dispatch

Ruins Hall, once a factory and now a public arts haven, will see major upgrades after receiving $1 million from a state grant.

The building along Enterprise Street in Glen Rock, built in the late 1800s, was once a furniture factory and later an outlet store. Today, it's an events venue where graffiti artists can express themselves.

“We want artists coming in,” said owner Matthew Davis, of CrocodileDog Marketing. “You don’t need to be the best artist in the world to chalk something there. You don’t need to be the worst. Just go, do it, respect what’s there and clean up after yourself.”

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The York County Economic Alliance submitted the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant request on behalf of the facility, said David González Jr., YCEA's director of economic initiatives. The two groups are working together as part of the YCEA's York County Trail Town program, which seeks to connect visitors of the nearby Heritage Rail Trail to adjacent towns and businesses.

A look at the current Ruins Hall site, top, versus the planned improvements, bottom.

Currently, Ruins Hall is quite literally a ruin.

The hall has no roof, exposing it to the elements. Likewise, it has no public restrooms, running water or internet. Still, the venue is available for fundraisers, weddings and other events. With the state RACP grant, Davis said, they will focus on improvements to the site.

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He said those improvements will include better crosswalks connecting the ruins to the rail trail, repairs around the facility and possibly the installation of public restrooms.

"While the ruins is the focus of the trail towns effort in Glen Rock, the site development plan is much bigger than the ruins itself," Davis said. They will be meeting with YCEA soon to review a final plan, he added.

Although CrocodileDog Marketing has owned Ruins Hall since 2019, they haven’t been able to do much with the space because the COVID-19 pandemic hit soon after the purchase, Davis said. The previous owners, who also owned the nearby Glen Rock Mill, were retiring and approached CrocodileDog about buying the property.

In 2013, the previous owners helped host the Live Arts Festival, which brought a new culture to the ruins. The art and music community at the ruins is the "bedrock on which we are building today," Davis said.

While the property doesn’t have anything stopping the public from walking in and exploring, those looking to hold events and put up art should contact CrocodileDog Marketing via the hall website at www.ruinshall.com. Davis said the organization prefers that artists ask for permission before painting and not unnecessarily modify the works of others.

For more information on Ruins Hall and the services offered, visit www.ruinshall.com.

— Reach Noel Miller at NMiller3@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @TheNoelM.