By Trina Bianchi

After applying for several grants and now having been super successful in being awarded not one but two grants this year, the Grange is now busy meeting the requirements on the first one so that Slater Construction can begin the work on the beautiful, inside schoolhouse windows on the first floor. We are pleased to be able to work again with a local contractor on this project. You should be seeing activity on this project this summer.

An RFP for the work covered by the second grant, the painting of the remainder of the exterior of the Grange Hall, will be going out to a minimum of three contractors for bid. We have one contractor interested; if there are other painting contractors, preferably local, who would be interested in bidding on this job, please contact me (Trina Bianchi).

You may recall that Slater Construction did all the restoration and repair on the south side of the building last year, with Shamrock Painting, John McCaffrey of North Ferrisburgh handling the painting and Ward Preston, Preston Excavating, moving the fire escape. That entire project is now completed, with the last piece of the fire escape back into position. A huge thank you to Brian Slater, John McCaffrey and Ward Preston for their work on our Hall.

We also want to acknowledge and thank Ward Preston and Preston’s Excavating for keeping our parking lot plowed and ready for use for the past two winters: Preston donated all his time and effort to the Grange. John Sheehan recently mowed the grass at the Grange this year; Stuart Robinson, a graduating senior at CVU, kept the grass mowed all last summer and is planning to continue that this summer. All mowing by John and Stuart has been donated. We do appreciate these donations as they are very important to our financial viability.

With the receipt of the two grants, the Grange is now looking for donations from folks who, like us, feel this building is a valuable historic community resource that warrants restoration and rehabilitation. We want to thank all those folks who have already contributed toward our Building Fund; we have $2,050 in the fund, which will go toward matching the first grant of $12,000. Obviously, we have a way to go in terms of being able to match both this grant and the second $20,000, which is also a matching grant. We are looking at the possibility of a loan. Stay tuned.

The unfortunate fact is that we do have deadlines we need to meet in having the work completed, which means we have to have the funds to pay for the work or we will have to make the very difficult decision to relinquish the grant, which obviously we do not want to do.

Because our normal, annual big fundraiser, the Rummage Sale, was canceled this spring due to COVID-19, we are now totally dependent on our community helping us out. We are confident that we will be able, between donations and perhaps a loan, to meet the financial requirements of the two grants and to have all the work completed by the grant deadlines. If you are interested in helping out but would like more information, please feel free to contact President Margaret Woodruff or me, the treasurer.

Again, our sincere thanks to all of you who have sent checks over the past year to the Grange—and one of you has contributed twice! All those donations have gone into our Building Fund. We would like to be able to acknowledge all of you publicly, but I am thinking that we need your permission to do so. If you have donated and are willing to allow us to publicly acknowledge your donation, please email me, and if you do consider donating now or in the future, let us know if we can give you kudos “out loud.”

All donations are tax deductible, and we do acknowledge each and every one with a letter that can be used for documentation.