Grange Notes by Tim Swartz, February 24, 2017
James used the “before photos” (you can figure out which is which!) and a graphics program to illustrate some ideas for making our “new” entrance more welcoming. We are looking at ideas, at this point, and these images give us lots to look at and talk about! What a change in appearance!
A little background: in 2008, the Grange used a grant from the VT Arts Council, and a loan from the VT State Grange to build a new entrance on the northeast corner. Our goal was to begin to make our Grange Hall accessible to all, providing a ramped entrance which meets the guidelines of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). We also created an ADA bathroom on the main floor. When we did this project, our intention was not to create a “back door” for people with mobility problems, but to have a new “front door” which anyone can use. We included this in the grant application, which was designed to help non-profit organizations to make arts resources and performance spaces accessible to everyone.
What we haven’t done is to treat the new entrance as a real main entrance. We never got around to making the entrance welcoming and attractive, but left it looking like a second-class, maybe even a begrudging allowance for people in wheelchairs.
So–that’s where we are today, and perhaps the reason for the images above is obvious! James has come up with some exciting ideas, which he presented to the Grange meeting a couple of weeks ago. The combination of snow visible on the roofs, and flowering shrubs and trees looks a little contradictory–but take a look at the principles behind his design ideas:
- Filling in the spaces under the porch and ramp: there is research that shows that humans are a bit nervous about passing by these spaces–our instincts are to see them as “hidey-holes” which could conceal a threat. Lattice and plantings fill in the spaces in the designs shown.
- Plantings show we care about our main entrance: pretty clear! If we invest in attractive “hardscaping” and plantings, and maintain them, we are showing that this is an important entrance.
- Inviting people to “hang out” there: the picnic table and bench shown by the ramp’s entrance are part of the welcome.
- Protecting the plantings from the snow-plow: since we have real winters–the snow on the roofs is a reminder!–we need to plan on ways to keep our investment in planting areas safe. Some good-sized boulders shown on the 2 sides of the stairs to the porch are an example of an attractive barrier.
- New soil for plantings: the soil around our Hall is full of lead paint which has been scraped or flaked off the clapboards. And the soil around our Hall is subsoil at best–not much nutrition for plants! Raised beds behind those boulders would lift the flowers–and/or vegetables–above the original soil, and make for healthy produce. We know we have a lot of enthusiastic gardeners in our community.
- The grass (and the stones) are not part of the plan! In order to cover up the snow on the ground in the pictures, grass and paving type stones were digitally used…but our plans won’t include those!
If you can’t wait to come and join us in singing this song, check out a couple of links to Youtube renditions, with lyrics, as recommended by Alison: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyS3HPInHtI
At our meeting, we also talked about political developments–it was just a couple of weeks after the new administration took power in Washington, and we have a new VT Governor. Many of us at the meeting spoke about supporting Gov. Scott’s statements about not supporting the immigration policies of the Trump White House. We decided to invite Gov. Scott to visit the Grange, especially the Open House which Merry is planning to have on April 1st. The event last year brought Grange users and community members together, and we hope to build on that and bring in even more. It will be great if the Governor can join us to see all the types of people and activities that happen at our Hall–he’s a Berlin resident, too! Stay tuned for more info about the Open House.
We also looked forward to a tasty event, planned for our May 6th meeting, when we will have a baking contest judged by “Celebrity Judges”–the contest this year is Cinnamon Rolls, with no prescribed recipe–stay tuned for more details.
Our meeting also took a few minutes to remember two older members who have passed away recently: David Wheeler and Marjorie Gendron. Both held offices in the CCG, in years past; we performed the ceremony of “Draping the Charter” in their memory. The Charter of the CCG, hanging next to the stage will bear the black drape until our next meeting.
Our meeting was followed by a well-attended potluck dinner, as usual, with about 25 people. Join us for the next one!
Here’s what the “Constitution of Bicycle Express says:
We The People of Bicycle Express
Promise to fix bikes and ride them.
We believe at the end of every ride its how much fun you had.
We love all those who ride bikes.
This attitude will inform Noah’s visit to talk to us about….getting ready to ride! Check out his store’s website, too: https://bikeexpressvt.com/
We’ll also look forward to an annual event, introduced to me by the former director of the VT Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition, Nancy Schulz. The “International Ride of Silence” is an annual, slow-paced ride for all bikers, which honors the people who have been injured or killed on the roads while biking. The ride, held on the 3rd Wednesday of May all around the world, brings attention and care to help encourage safe riding–and safe driving by the motorists who share the road with bikers and pedestrians.
I have been organizing a Northfield ride for several years–this year it will be on May 17th. Come to the meeting to learn more! There should be other rides in other parts of VT–or you can organize one yourself–it’s not hard, and it’s always a meaningful event. You can find out more about the event by visiting this website: http://www.rideofsilence.org
And stay for the Community Potluck Dinner at 6-ish! Great food, great company, and a chance to talk to other people who love what goes on at the Grange Hall.
The clothes and toys are stored between open times (9:30 to 11:30, the Second Saturday of every month) in the “back corner” of the basement area, next to the Lost & Found–but it hasn’t looked like it does in the bottom photo until now!
So many people have donated items, that the bins are overflowing–see the top couple of pictures! So the Grange, via its indefatigable Treasurer/Rental Agent Merry Shernock has arranged to improve the storage area: using Onion River Exchange “hours” donated by Grange member Liz Benjamin, she found a painter to help her clean off the mildew on the concrete walls, and to paint the lovely sky-blue you can see. Merry also located some capacious industrial shelving, which will soon be set up in that corner, to hold the burgeoning boxes and bins, keeping them accessible.
Also, during next week (March 1-3) there will be a serious “purge” of the clothes, to keep the best and pass the rest on. Would you like to help? Contact Merry: http://firstname.lastname@example.org or Erin: http://email@example.com to arrange schedules.
$ecretary Charles Martin
639 Mini$ter Brook Rd.
Worce$ter, VT 05682
Remember, everyone is welcome at all our Grange meetings, but only members can vote!