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Woman works to improve her adopted town

By Staff | Mar 27, 2015

Becky Sanguedolce, at the family's Riverside Campground, considers herself a facilitator in Montgomery's revitalization efforts.

MONTGOMERY – Regardless if one is using the past, present or future tense of the word “DO”, when considering women in Montgomery’s history, one name comes to residents’ minds . . . Becky Sanguedolce. “Since moving to the borough 13 years ago, we’ve rehabbed 10 properties,” Becky said.

The owner of Riverside Campgrounds credits her family with working together, something they’ve always done. In addition to her husband is son Rocky, daughter Ruby and her vivacious mother Martha Messerly. At age 93, her mother, now residing at The Willows, has been her daughter’s life-long inspiration. “Mom was involved in Boy Scouts, 4-H, church and forced me to volunteer with meals on wheels and spending summers aiding in a school lunch program for children of migrant workers in our home state of Michigan,” Becky said.

Additionally, the family spent 20 years traveling with a carnival. The carnivals were a part of County Fairs where Becky became interested in ecology. “I’d view exhibit halls where groups connected with extension services had displays, and was drawn to the pressed leaf collections. Later I made one for myself which I still have,” Becky said. The traveler noted that North Carolina has the most varieties of trees. Her interests led to becoming a Master Gardener.

The family also owned a Subway franchise where son Rick had the distinction of being the youngest owner nationwide. Experience in the food industry became invaluable with daughter Ruby in operating the restaurant and tavern connected to their Riverside Campground in Montgomery.

Sanguedolce said at Montgomery, “I was first contacted by Mayor Onufrak as he’d heard about my past experiences on an environmental board in MIchigan.” This first step led to volunteering in additional organizations including the Black Hole Creek Watershed Association where she’s been president since 2002, the Muncy Creek Water Shed Association, the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership and Revitalize Montgomery. Becky said that “Getting involved with programs and boards is a great way to meet people.”

The circa 1898 Pearl Gray building, the most recent of the ten Montgomery properties in the borough was rehabilitated by the Sanguedolce family.

Included in Becky’s participation in revitalization included a two year period when 72 trees were planted in the borough. Among the ten buildings rehabilitated have been the Eagle Move Theater, the building housing the Tickle Music Store and the Pearl Gray apartment building, the latter between the Fire Hall and Uni-Mart. A sign on the circa 1898 building notes Gray’s name, a teacher who housed travelers. “For suggestions on Gray building’s color, we sought the advice of Nella Storm of Muncy,” Becky said.

The Farmer’s National Bank is the current project. Located adjacent the library, the brick building appears to be sound. “When you stand in the basement and see the sky through the second floor you know it needs a lot of attention. If at all possible, we choose to keep buildings, for once they’re removed, it’s like a smile with a missing tooth,” son Rick said.

Persons on the street lauding the Sanguedolce family’s efforts included Walter Bohner. Codes officer in Montgomery for 24 years Bohner said, “They’ve done a lot for this town in restoring blighted properties. Keep it up,” quipped the officer.

Montgomery librarian Sue Thomas said of Becky, “I can’t think of any woman whose currently done more for this town.”

When told of everyone’s remarks, Becky said, “I consider myself a facilitator, whatever improvements are made in Montgomery benefits us all.”

(For more on Montgomery happenings including a summer concert schedule go to Facebook: Revitalize Montgomery).