It has been two years since a fire tore through the Sons of Italy hall on South 10th Street, and still, pasta lovers are waiting for the facility to reopen.
Following the fire, the organization moved quickly to start repairing the damage, but then the work abruptly stopped. For months, the exterior has remained unchanged. As plastic siding flapped in the winter winds, many wondered if it would ever reopen.
A payment dispute between the the hall's board and a contractor slowed the rebuild, which broke the hearts of those hungry for the hall's famous pasta dinners. Sons of Italy Vice President Dan Matuella telling 6 News that, "The place is near and dear to a lot of peoples’ hearts."
But now, Matuella says they are back on the right track, and hope to have the hall back open soon. "There is light at the end of the tunnel. We are moving forward. We are going to be moving at a good clip now, so no more stalemates.”
Part of the cost of the $1 million rebuild cost was covered by insurance, but Matuella says Sons still came up short, by about $400,000. "We’ve been able to get some good pledges from various donors and some from our national organization." The organization eventually had to hire a project advocate, to help rebuild the relationship between them and contractors, as well as organizing payments and permits.
In an email sent to about 300 Sons of Italy members, the board said that subcontractors received checks last Friday, and committees are now being formed to prepare for an eventual grand re-opening.
With all the new developments, Matuella said he estimates that work will resume within three weeks, meaning an April building completion date is possible. "It's hard for me the speculate at this point when we’ll be able to start serving the gravy."