Cape Cod’s fifth hostel is under construction and should be up and running before the end of the summer season.
The property at 111 Ocean Street in Hyannis was left in trust by Ruth Rusher to be used as a youth hostel, an inexpensive place for travelers to stay.
The last hostel built on Cape Cod was in Eastham, which was completed in the late 1960s.
“I think this a good indicator of how challenging it is to open a new hostel on the Cape. With land values the way they are, we have to rely on the incredible generosity of someone like Ruth Rusher to provide the property. And even then, we need to raise the money for the extensive renovations to meeting modern commercial building codes, and Hostelling International's own quality standards,” said John Yonce of Hostelling International, who is the development director for the Hyannis project.
Yonce said the project's first stages were an education for the town and the hostel's neighbors. He said some were unfamiliar with how hostels operate. He added that the 2005 slasher film "Hostel" hasn't helped its image, either.
"There were fears of homeless people living there or of a seedy-looking building on the waterfront," Yonce said. "We took this whole process as an opportunity to educate the community, and especially once people saw the physical manifestation of the hostel, we have heard only positives, even from one-time opponents to the project."
Deborah Converse, CEO of the Hyannis Chamber of Commerce, said she originally hoped to upgrade the neighborhood with a boutique hotel, which she said would be a higher investment. Then she changed her mind and considered what it could bring to Hyannis.
"I said, 'It's here. They're doing a fabulous job, so why fight it any longer?'" Converse said.
She said it could jump-start a biking culture in Hyannis that links to Yarmouth.
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