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Venue in Clermont reopens, landmark awaits repairs
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Robin Collinson paces in front of the The Venue in Clermont after learning that the landmark she bought four years ago had been battered by Tropical Storm Irma. Almost three weeks later, the event facility is open for business but repairs to the front have yet to be made. - photo by Times photo

Almost three weeks after Tropical Storm Irma battered The Clermont Venue — the town’s landmark hotel built in 1905 — owner Robin Collinson still does not have a damage estimate. The storm’s winds knocked the balcony off the front of the popular facility now used to host anniversaries, parties, weddings and other special events.

As much as Collinson has tried to speed up the process, a contractor she lined up to assess the damage and give her a cost estimate has yet to find the time to survey the property. Neither has the insurance adjuster, Collinson said.

“It’s still very slow,” the owner said. “I guess everybody is busy with all the damage that’s been done around here. It’s backed up.”

Collinson’s family pitched in to immediately clean up the storm-tossed debris in front of The Venue so it wouldn’t be an eyesore for the town’s celebration of its Clermont Days Festival held Sept.15 and 16.

“The festival’s parade passes in front of the hotel every year so we wanted to have it clean,” Collinson said. 

She said a neighbor, John Brady who is an officer with the North Hall Lions Club, brought his chain saw to cut the fallen balcony to pieces so it could be disposed of in a big dumpster rented by the Collinson family.

The owner said she was heartened when The Venue reopened last week to host a wedding.

“We didn’t get any damage inside, so we’re able to hold events,” Collinson said.

Weekly yoga classes held Tuesday evenings under the direction of instructor Holly Lee are also back at The Venue, Collinson said.

Collinson already started promoting a dinner-dance with live music that she’s tentatively set for Nov. 18 at The Venue.

“We want to hold it before people get too caught up with the holidays,” she said. “Money raised from the event will go toward paying the deductible on the insurance.”

For more information on the benefit Dinner-Dance event at The Clermont Venue on Nov. 18, call Robin Collinson at 678-316-8526.

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