Who is there who can join me to finish digging the trench (about 90 feet) and laying conduit? Give me a call or send an email! –Tim
Great progress has been made on the trench and conduit needed to bring power from the building to the site of our new sign. A crew of volunteers joined me on Sunday, August 3rd to get started, and indefatigable Lewis Neill continued the work during last week.
We’ve got 2 runs of conduit buried at least 18″ deep, from the corner of the building, across the driveway next to the building, and down the slope to the driveway from the road. Our crew on Sunday accomplished this much–many thanks to Alison and Andy Forrest, Stephen Wright and Kevin Taft! Then over the next couple of days, Lewis continued the trench and conduit across the lower driveway and began coming down the west side.
We are still working on the design and planning for the new sign, but this work gives us a big step forward. And it’s affordable–I did get a quote from a dance community member with a Kubota tractor with a trenching bucket–but it would cost about $600 just to complete the run to the new sign location, money we don’t have. We’ll rely on “sweat equity” to get this project done–see my invitation in the adjoining column.
What do you think? We’ll be having meetings to discuss all of these questions–like the furnace meeting announced in this issue of Grange Notes. We’d love to have your input!
During our summer hiatus from regular Grange meetings,the need for decisions hasn’t gone away. Those of us who can remember back before warm weather arrived know that it won’t last forever–this is Vermont! Alert readers will remember we’ve been warned that our furnace is on its last legs. Heating oil is one of our largest annual expenses, and of course we need to keep the Hall warm once cold weather comes back. So some of us have been studying the options.
We’ve gotten quotes from a couple of heating system contractors, for a couple of options: replacing our current single furnace with another oil furnace, or changing to a pair of gas furnaces, to independently heat the 2 floors. Sizing of these has been based on our current fuel usage, and the current furnace size.
We’ve been lucky to get help from a new member of the Montpelier dance community, who has about 40 years of experience in HVAC (Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning). Bill has stepped forward to use his expertise to evaluate the heating and ventilating needs of our building, using spread-sheet based tools. He’s surveyed the building, and interviewed me about the structure and the insulation levels–including the 12″ of cellulose which we put in the attic floor back in 2007. By doing this study, Bill expects to recommend the size of the furnace(s) we need, to run the most efficiently and minimize our fuel usage. He also expects to give us recommendations on where we should consider adding insulation to reduce our heating load and save money every heating season.
As we also prepare for the planned renovations of our basement fire exits, and of the downstairs bathrooms, we’ll be looking for opportunities to improve our insulation during the reconstruction of these areas.
On August 2nd, before the CDU contra dance, I’d like to hold a meeting to discuss Bill’s recommendations, and to make some decisions about which way to go. By that time, we should have some solid numbers on the heating needs of our building. This will not be a regular Grange meeting, but a meeting focused on this one issue. I’d like to meet at 5:30, planning on an hour of discussion followed by a potluck dinner; there will be a dance that evening with set-up starting at 7:00 as usual. Please contact me if you can join us in helping to make this decision!
Tim Swartz, Master (with everyone’s help)
Capital City Grange #469
As we consider the costs for our proposed projects (furnace, sign, and the bathroom/fire exit projects, the obvious question is how we pay for these? Our finances will affect what our choices can be, and the impact of those choices on our long-term survival.
- Grants: The Friends have already applied for another grant from the VT Cultural Facilities program, which helped us with a grant for $20,000 for the new ADA entrance and accessible bathroom on the main floor in 2008. They are also looking at other grant possibilities, and would like to hear from others who know about grants, employer matching-contribution plans, and other opportunities
- Challenge benefit concluding Sept. 6th: The Friends will also be asking for increased donations from the Grange and dance communities in the annual Challenge Fundraiser. This is the yearly appeal first to people who can pledge substantial donations, and then to the dance community that loves the Hall, to match that amount. The goal this year will be to raise $4,000 in all, with $2,000 to help the Grange with its operating expenses, and the remainder to help the FCCGH to finance projects. Donations will be accepted starting with the second dance in August, on the 16th, and the fundraiser will conclude at the Sept. 6th dance (with Nils Fredland and the Free Raisins), featuring a dessert potluck and many opportunities to help us reach our goal. Contact Patty Giavara: firstname.lastname@example.org if you can pitch in, in any way!
- State Grange financing help: The Vermont State Grange loaned us money for our big project in 2008, building the ADA entrance and the upstairs, accessible bathroom. We’ve begun conversations with them about the possibility of another loan to help us with some of these projects. This will not be a grant, but could spread out the cost over time, to let us get the benefits of increased income and reduced costs that we are aiming for.
- Loans from Grange members and friends: We will be asking for low-interest loans to help us fund the construction of our bathrooms and fire exits, even if we get the grant we have applied for, since we don’t get the grant money until the project is done! We could use loans as a way to pay for the furnace replacement as well, since we hope to be saving money by investing in efficient, appropriately sized furnace(s). Could you help us?
- Volunteer labor: a few people have asked me if they can help with the renovation projects, and we have included donated labor as part of our “matching” for the grant applications, in fact. We expect to ask for help demolishing the old bathrooms and the back stairs, to make way for the new construction. I’d like to start signing up volunteers! Under the “sign” article, you’ll also see a request for help digging a trench for the wire for our sign, and there will be more opportunities for help on that project as well. We know we have hard-working and talented community members, and will need to tap their efforts to get these projects done at a cost we can afford.
- Donations from Grange members and friends: We’ll certainly be looking for outright gifts, specifically donated to support the furnace or the renovations. Would you want a plaque on one of our new toilets, to show our appreciation? Maybe you’d prefer to have a plaque above one of our new sinks, which actually mix the hot and cold water? Or on one of the curtained “changing rooms” we plan to build to make places for people to change without tying up bathroom space. Maybe you want to just make an anonymous donation…we won’t turn you away! Let us know what works for you!