Grange Notes by Tim Swartz, Grange President (with everyone’s help) January 27, 2023
Looking down at Project Uplift
The hoistway for our wheelchair platform lift is completely framed, and was approved by the Fire Marshal. In this picture, taken from the Stage level, you can see the doorway opening into the ADA foyer just below on the right, and then down to the concrete floor of the Lower level, with a doorway on the left. There will be stops at all 3 levels!
Next steps will include getting electrical wiring roughed-in, followed by sheetrocking of the shaft–and installation of the lift! We are still looking for volunteers to paint the sheetrocked walls–please contact Tim if you want to be part of this project.
Looking for some exercise?
How about Tuesday!
We are expecting a delivery of sheetrock to clad the hoistway and the new closet walls, on Tuesday “after 9 AM”. If you’ve been looking for a way to help out on this project, and you can help carry 5/8″ sheetrock panels (around 54 lbs. each), we can use you! Stan and I will get a more precise time on that morning, if you want to get a call to come over and help Stan carry panels into the Hall, please contact Tim: email@example.com. I’m no longer up to that sort of carrying, unfortunately!
January meeting pools experiences, opinions and questions about options for our siding/paint woes
I’m going to summarize what seemed to be the areas of agreement from the discussion:
- The vinyl siding option was very unpopular, due to concerns about a “cheap” look, environmental impact and aging causing visual degradation.
- Having the existing paint (which has underlayers of lead paint) scraped, prepped and painted professionally is a good option to pursue. The possibility of a grant for 50% of the cost, up to $10,000 could make this a lower-initial investment option. Concern remains about long-term maintenance costs–will we need equally expensive professional scraping and prep in the future, and how often? Could volunteers do painting after the professional prep work? More questions are being discussed with painting contractors and consultants.
- The FCCGH has submitted a “Letter of Intent” for a grant from the Preservation Trust of VT/1772 Foundation that could potentially provide the $10K grant mentioned above. We will hear in early February whether we are invited to apply.
- Covering over the existing siding with new wood siding, which would permanently cover the peeling lead paint is also worth considering. Questions include how long the paint or stain would last on the new siding, how the contractor would deal with the trim and whether that would need to continue to be scraped and painted. This approach could provide a real moisture-break between the sometimes moist air in the Hall and the siding, which could increase the life of the paint.
- The LP Smartside and Fiber Cement new siding options were not popular, due to environmental concerns. However, the cost of LP Smartside would be just a bit more than new wood clapboards, and the long warranty might imply lower costs over the longer term.
- We also discussed the possibility of adding dense-pack cellulose insulation to the side-walls of the building. Besides increasing R-value, this can reduce moisture transfer from inside to outside, as well as increasing air-sealing of the Hall. More research needs to be done to confirm the benefits. We also noted that the basement drainage work and insulation, plus the dehumidifier installed as part of the 2020 renovation project greatly reduced moisture coming from within the building.
- Several people advocated for applying stain rather than paint, if we decided to go with new wood siding. The stain option is not suitable for application over the existing painted/scraped siding, but would reduce the amount of scraping and prep work used over new siding.
- The general conclusion of the meeting was that if we receive the possible grant from the PVT/1772 Foundation, we should proceed with scraping and painting in 2023. If we do not receive the grant then we should consider re-siding with wood clapboards ($30K) or LP Smartside ($32K). Re-siding would not happen until 2024 due to fundraising requirements.
Feb. 4th, 4:30 to 5:00: Grange meeting
As usual, our pre-program Grange meeting will be brief. We’ll look at our financials (as the snow has started to fall, plowing bills are coming in–and rentals are also up!), and we’ll plan for an advertising campaign for the March 7th Berlin Town Ballot vote on extending our property tax exemption for 5 more years. Join us in person or via Zoom–the link for the latter is on the Grange website listing for the meeting: HERE.
Feb. 4th, 5 to 6:00, meet Stephanie Yu, new Executive Director of the Public Assets Institute!
Grange Lecturer Carl Etnier has invited Steph Yu to speak as part of our free Community Program series. She will describe the opportunities to use the legislative budgeting process to advance social, racial and economic equality. The talk will be based on PAI’s “State of Working Vermont 2022” report, issued in December of ’22. The report also describes how to build on the spirit of solidarity awakened by the pandemic, when many people came to understand that economic and social needs are shared–and deserving of collective attention and action, both by communities and government.
The PAI was formed in 2003, to conduct research, perform fiscal analysis, disseminate information and develop policies that apply the powers of government to improve the well-being of ordinary citizens, especially the most vulnerable. More information is available on their website: www.publicassets.org. Please join us to hear Steph’s presentation, and to take part in questions and discussion!
Steph will be at the Grange to present this program, and you are welcome to join us there. We’ll also welcome you via Zoom if you prefer. The link for the Zoom connection is posted on the Grange website post for this program.
After the program: it’s potluck time!
From 6:00 to about 7:00, we’ll have our monthly Community Potluck Dinner, where we socialize over tasty dishes contributed by Grange members and other good cooks. Generally we chew over the ideas we’ve discussed in the meeting and program, as well as good food. We hope you will join us for the dinner, whether you make it to the meeting or not! Please bring whatever you cook or can scrounge up that can be shared–beverages, cheese ‘n’ crackers, desserts, main dishes, soups, side dishes, salads…we all need to eat, so why not share food in good company?
Besides the lift, we’re also going to rebuild the foyer wall
Stan has also added new, grasp-able handrails to the entrance steps (see photo below). He will also be adding extensions to the porch railings, as those are required to be 42″ high. A mockup on one side has been there for at least a month–design is not final, comments welcome!
A Community Dance! With live music by the VT Fiddle Orchestra, and dance calling by Luke Donforth, this will be a way for people of all ages to celebrate together, from 3:00 to 4:30.
We’re particularly hoping to get more folks from Berlin and other local communities to join us for this fun, free event, so please spread the word to folks you know nearby. Berlin holds its Town Ballot on March 7, a couple of days afterward, and we’d love to show off the improvements and all that the Grange Hall has to offer, to encourage people to vote Yes to extending the property tax exemption for our all-volunteer-run Community Hall.
Camp Scholarships–from Dance, Sing & Jump Around!
Our DS&JA series for kids and their families has been very popular since re-starting in December. We’ve had over 50 people of all ages dancing, singing and definitely jumping around! Here’s the “press release” from founder and main organizer Liz Benjamin:
DANCE, SING & JUMP AROUND is happy and proud to announce that it will give a $100 scholarship to each of 3 young musicians wishing to attend either the Young Traditions Vermont week-long camp or the Summit School Traditional Weekend Camp in 2023. Any interested person under the age of eighteen is encouraged to apply and should submit a written request, including their name, age and a description of their musical journey by March 31, 2023. Awards will be announced on April 16, 2023. The winners may be invited to play for DS&JA during the 2023-2024 season. Please submit applications to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It sounded great with the acoustic panels!”
That’s the message we received recently from the VT Philharmonic Orchestra, which held a rehearsal at the Grange Hall. It’s great to be reminded that the volunteer-made and volunteer-installed panels which were done in 2019 are still making a difference! We’ve heard similar messages from contra-dance sound techs and others. We always enjoy hearing kudos from people who recognize the work that many people have put in to make our Hall better.
It’s 2023, and time to renew your Grange membership!
PO Box 234
Northfield Falls VT 05664