Heavy equipment — and the beginning of big changes

The Patio Potluck last September featured a ceremonial ground breaking, but a recent Friday and Saturday were spent doing the actual thing. The crew of volunteers was led by Tim Furlong, Jr. and Bill Bonini, Jr. — both following in the footsteps of their namesake, community-minded dads — and included Don Armstrong, Walter Earle, Margaret Graham, David Judd, Johnathan Knudsen, Venta Leon, George Magan, Jerry Swallow, and Ron Taylor. And lunch, provided by Kristin Diekmann, Jim Engelkes, and K&A Take Away mid-day, kept everyone motivated and happy.

A lot was accomplished — not only was the patio site graded but drainage pipe was re-laid, directing water run-off from the hillside beneath the open space to an improved drainage ditch. Most importantly, for the first time it is possible to actually see the building’s full south elevation (see bottom image below.)

When our 1931 predecessors accomplished the enormous task of digging under the building to create a basement (mainly, I assume, with shovels), they could not have imagined a need for changing the ground level because at that time the building sat directly on the property line — Fred and Ella Jorgensens’ property extended up to the Hall’s  south wall. So they simply dug below grade and left part of the south wall buried.

This is a reason the Trustees jumped at the chance — and the community came through with the donations — to purchase what we call the Buckeye Lot. The Hall gained an outside gathering space, and the opportunity to create an inviting and important juncture between the basement and the outside.  

With the recent grading accomplished, this juncture is now easy to envision, and we will soon make plans and consider designs — the next part of the project. Assessment of the current foundation and the engineering requirements of the south window wall are naturally the most important step of this phase (and realistically, of the entire project) and we anticipate the inevitable give and take as general design ideas are evaluated.

Writing this, it feels to me — used as I am to small, private building projects — that even the permit stage is a long way off. But this is an important community building of much history, with myriad uses and users. Careful thought and well-considered plans are a necessity that the Town Hall deserves.

There is also much fund-raising in our future as we work side-by-side with our dedicated team of construction volunteers. The National Trust has provided seed money in the form of generous grants to get us going with engineering and planning, but money for actual construction is probably going to be from private individuals, families, and foundations.

We are ready to begin our capital campaign in earnest, but have little experience with this sort of thing. If you have experience and ideas in this realm, please share them with us through your input and participation. Let us know of possible grantors, donors, and family or other foundations that might be interested in the building and its place in the region’s history. We need your help! Thank you.

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Ginny MaganComment