HERKIMER, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV) – The Mayor of the Village of Herkimer handed over the keys to the Quackenbush buildings today as a sign that new things are coming. The Herkimer 9 Foundation is working with local real estate and development companies to turn the old buildings into something new.

HMQ 1890 LLC is a company that worked with the Herkimer 9 Foundation to acquire the buildings once occupied by Henry Quackenbush. Herkimer 9 is a foundation with an initiative to renovate Herkimer’s historical buildings that played a role in the early years of basketball, and the Quackenbush is the first one on their list.

“A lot of things about basketball started here in Herkimer and that happened at a YMCA here on Main street in 1891, and the only reason that YMCA existed was because Mr. Quackenbush, H.M. Quackenbush, and his wife,” said Scott Flansburg, the Herkimer 9 president. “His wife went out and raised $1,500 and started the YMCA, and that’s where all of these events happened.”

To honor the innovative contributions made by Mr. Quackenbush, the buildings on Prospect street will be turned into S.T.E.A.M centers focusing on science, technology, engineering, arts and math. There will also be an incubation center to help people put their ideas into action.

“He was really a cutting edge scientist and engineer and entrepreneur, so to bring that back into this building is tremendous,” said Jim Blasting, a senior consultant for Ambient Environmental Inc, a company working with the developers on the project.

Flansburg added, “I’m all about making math fun, and so to come back to my hometown of Herkimer N.Y. and turn the most famous and historical building in our village into a S.T.E.A.M learning center so children from around the world can come here and get inspired and excited about science, technology, engineering, arts, and math is a dream come true.”

Quackenbush’s great great grandson Bronson Hager shared, “I’m very happy to know that the Herikimer 9 Foundation has acquired the building and has plans to repurpose it in a way that could give back to the community as a center of learning and innovation. I think Henry would be proud of that.”

In addition to benefitting the community in terms of innovation, the S.T.E.A.M and incubation centers will have positive impacts on the economy and the local job market. Herkimer Mayor Mark Netti says the building development will help lower taxes for the village residents.

The Lahinch group real estate and development of Syracuse have been hired as the developers for this project. They say they don’t have a definitive timeline or estimate as to the when the project will be finished, but they are looking at today as a starting point and hope to get the project done in a timely manner.