Grange Notes by Tim Swartz, Grange President (with everyone’s help) May 28, 2023
Faster than we expected!
I’m extremely pleased to be able to report that the entire exterior of the Grange Hall has been scraped and painted! Check out the pictures above, which show the final results. In addition to all the siding, the interior of the entrance porches, the original entrance porch floor and the concrete foundation walls are also freshly painted! And if you look carefully at the photos of the 2 entrances, you can see that the parking lot has been re-graded as well.
How did we get this done? Alert readers will remember that thanks to Patty Giavara, Chair of the Friends of the Capital City Grange Hall, we were able to qualify for a grant that is paying for half the cost of this major project. Patty was able to document the historic nature of our building–it’s 70 years old, and has been in continuous use as a Community Grange Hall for the entire time. By proving that we are qualified to seek designation as an historic building, she was able to apply for a grant for exterior painting. The FCCGH received confirmation that they were getting the grant at the end of April, and we alerted our chosen contractor, Hodgkins Painting of Plainfield. And we were quite surprised when he told us that due to cancellation of another job, his crew was able to start on May 11th!
Travis Hodgkins and a crew of 4 or 5 went right at the scraping process. They are trained to do safe removal of lead paint (which our Hall certainly has), and used approved hand-scraping techniques combined with chip-catching tarps, plus painstaking collection of chips that missed the tarps, to do a very clean job. By the end of the day on Friday, 5/12, they completed the prep-work, and they were able to start painting on the Monday morning following. The entire job was completed by Friday, May 19th–porches, trim, siding and lettering too!
The thorough scraping needed is shown in the “Before Scraping” and “During and after scraping” photos below.
By the way, we’ve been asked a few times if future building renovations are prohibited by being a “historic” building. Working with the VT Preservation Trust, we have confirmed that we are not restricted. We have not applied for official “historic” designation, and don’t intend to–but we were able to get the painting grant without taking those steps.
During and After Scraping:
We were also glad to get an earlier start on the driveway & parking lot grading! Our May 6 meeting approved the quote we had gotten, and on May 17th Matt Dwire brought his equipment over. He re-graded the driveway, brought in a couple of loads of gravel, and presto–no more roller-coaster ride coming up the driveway! We also got more gravel thickness over the septic tank access (near the original entrance), and smoother transitions to the concrete pads in front of both entrances.
What’s next? A Hall clean-up work party on June 3rd!
And then a sing-along and potluck dinner, too!
With all this beautiful exterior work, we want to make the inside of the Hall (plus the flower-beds!) look equally good. We haven’t had a “Hall Clean-up” work party since before the pandemic…and we’ve found–in a twist on the saying–that Dust never sleeps! We have accumulations of dust visible on the light fixtures and the ceiling fan in the Main Hall–and only somewhat less visible on the walls.
With our work-party scheduled for 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM, you’ll be able to appreciate the new look of the grading and painting work by daylight, and then help to make the inside look bright and clean as well. We’ll have room for people to work on various areas, and we’ll have a lot of cleaning supplies–but we encourage you to bring your own. We know different people like different vacuum cleaners, for example–and we’ll have work for them all.
As we discussed at the May 6th Grange meeting, we need some help from the Grange community to keep this Hall running. We have been able to count on generous financial contributions to the Friends of the Capital City Grange Hall, which have allowed us to make great progress on major projects like the new wheelchair lift and the full repainting of the Hall described above. Both of those projects were 50% paid for by the FCCGH, with the rest covered by grant funding. But we can’t get grants for normal maintenance and cleaning!
We’ve always found that everyone who comes for a work party has a good time–it’s fun to work with other people for everyone’s benefit–and we find that people that want to pitch in are nice folks! Many of us involved in the Grange started out by pitching in on events like this–and we hope you’ll join us! We’ll be sharing some tunes to work by, and if people want to bring some snacks, I’m sure they’ll be enjoyed as well. It’s a great chance to meet other Grange members and Hall users!
We’ve already gotten a head-start on the cleanup, thanks to a couple of folks. Patty Covey, a member of the Montpelier Church of Christ has started cleaning the windows in the Main Hall! And Erin Barry, organizer of Kids Trade & Play, has cleaned the refrigerator! Amy Handy has planted flower seeds in the planters outside the steps of the ADA entrance porch, and will be happy to have others join her to work on the other flower beds on the 3rd. And Lewis Neill has donated 4 small lilac bushes, which have been transplanted into a sunny corner of the parking lot as “Lewis’s Lilac Grove“. We’ll be moving some stones to protect the grove on June 3rd too!
Besides the interior cleaning, Amy Handy would be happy to have some help with weeding and other work on the flower beds. And there are some small dead trees to cut down–bring a bow-saw or a chainsaw if you have one. We’ll have work for everyone! Questions? Get in touch with me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to consult with Amy about flower beds, you can reach her at: email@example.com. We have commitments from a few renters that they will be coming to help, hope we’ll see you next Saturday!
Celebrate the cleanup, the paint, the grading, the gardening–and spring in general!
Whether or not you can join us for the clean-up, we hope to get you to sing along with us! We’ll have some printed song-sheets, and Grange Musician Matt Nunnelly will be on hand to play piano accompaniment and provide his song-leading talents. Bring your own favorites to teach to us! Bring a guitar or a banjo or other musical instrument! As one of my son’s Cub Scout leaders used to say, you don’t have to sing well, we just want you to sing!
[By the way, if you think you detect a common theme in the plans for June 3rd, you’re right! We are trying to tempt you to come to the Grange and have a good time–whether you enjoy working on a project, meeting nice people, singing silly songs or eating tasty food, we’ll be happy to have you join us.]
And yes, the singing (in the Main Hall, where the piano is located) will be followed by a Grange Community Potluck! As a Grange Notes reader, you’ve seen my descriptions of them often, I’m sure–bring whatever you like, dine on our selection of vintage dishes, enjoy great company! We’ll have it in our refurbished Lower Level, which is served by the still-new Wheelchair lift so everyone can come. We hope you will be among them!