Town of South Hero
Meeting House – Preserve & Revitalize Project
Date: TUESDAY, Jan 10, 2023
Time: 3:30 PM In person at Town Office or via ZOOM –
Attendees: David Carter-Chair, Michael Carroll, Robin Way, Pamela Surprenant, Mary Harwood, Beth Curtis, Linda Seavey, Sandy Gregg. Via ZOOM:, Sarah Kjelleren, Emily Klofft-Northwest Regional Planning Commission, Jenna Lapachinski, Field Services-Preservation Trust of VT (PTVT) [email protected]
Absent: Carol Tremble, Terry Robinson,
Public: Mary Andrews, Donald Bedard via Zoom
1. Called to order at 3:33 by David C.
2. Funds, Finances, and more…
• Town Meeting House fund balance as of 1/10/23 = $168,433.08
• Two (2) estimates have been reviewed. Based on these 2 estimates a figure of $2.4 million for the whole project, including the addition, is being used.
• Bond Bank Article: for Town Meeting March 7,2023. David C. reported on the Selectboard’s (SB) response to his proposed $2.4 million Bond Article to voters to do the whole project including the addition. At the SB meeting there was considerable push back about the amount. The SB decided to table the article discussion until Monday, Jan 23rd.
• The project has been value-engineered to reduce cost by eliminating the full basement and going with a crawl space instead (saves ~$300,000). This also reduces the need for a 3 story elevator and saves costs there as well (~$60,000).
• After David’s report the SHMH Committee had considerable discussion. The Committee generally agreed on the following:
• The Committee agreed that the parameters of Phase #1 would need to now include:
1. Removing all the windows, boarding them up, and restoring the old windows. The old windows that survived being removed would be taken off site to be restored per the Secretary of the Interior’s Historic Preservation criteria. Note: restored old windows have a longer life span than new windows (15-20 yrs) and may continue to be restored. Using the old restored windows reduces landfill impact, and using storms on the restored old windows nearly matches efficiency ratings compared to double-paned new replacement windows. This per Lenna Lapachinski-PTVT.
2. Raising and moving the building to the west where the Honeymoon Cottage currently sits. This eliminates danger to workers so they do not have to work beneath a raised old building while they replace the foundation.
3. Foundation Replacement, including facing the new foundation with slabs of the original stone so the appearance of the new foundation will have a very similar look to the original foundation.
4. Stabilizing the east wall, replacing windows where they had been removed years ago when the garage space was created. Structural fixes as needed, new siding as needed, prime & paint as needed.
5. Roof repair as needed.
6. New 2nd floor fire escape would need to be added to the back.
7. The addition is now off the table and on hold until a later date 2-4 years down the road.
8. The Bond Article should be for the amount of $1.2 million.
9. A second Article should go before voters to ask their opinions on the future use of the Old White Meeting House. That is, should the Town offices be moved to an addition on the north side of the Old White Meeting House? This would be done through a town-wide survey.
10. A proposal for the Grannies: If the Town office moved to the Old White Meeting House a proposal for consideration is that the Grannies could then move into the old Town Office building, a lean-to type addition could be added to that building the west side and the Grannies would have nearly the same space that now occupy between the 2nd floor of the Old White Meeting House and the old red firehouse building the back.
3. Grant(s) Updates –
• Bruhn Grant could be extended: Jenna Lapachinski stated the National Park Service is being very open to granting extensions for their grants and this would apply to the Bruhn Grant from the NPS and being administered through PTVT.
• Should the Town give back the Bruhn Grant? This topic was discussed in general what with “the strings” attached to the grant. Those “strings include: 15 year easement on the property. This means anything the town would want to do to the building (add an addition for instance) would have to go to the NPS for review. Jenna L. explained that the Town could jeopardize future fundings. Example: any USDA loan or grant would include regulatory review under Section 6. Jenna said that PTVT is here to help us get through this. She suggested a meeting be setup as soon as possible between the following: State Director of Historic Preservation (Laura Trieschmann), Town Committee, Jenna Lapachinski, and Rebecca Arnold-Arnold & Scangas Architects. Jenna L. said she would begin setting up this meeting tomorrow. Further, Jenna L. stated we (the Town) are in good hands as Arnold & Scangas are experts in this field and are very familiar with the Secretary’s Standards. Details such as how to address the issue of the old beaverboard can be resolved at this meeting. Also, acceptable means of insulating such as blowing in cellulose could also be addressed. The Committee generally agreed to this meeting and we look forward to hearing back from Jenna L.
• Emily K reported the amendment grant in the amount of $31,271 has been announced. She will do the followup on that grant.
4. Old Business
• Friday, Jan 20th Congressional Walk-through at 9:00 AM with A. Julow-LCIEDC. The group will meet at the Old White Meeting House at 9:00 AM then walk across the street to the Town Office for a brief wrap-up discussion. Packets will be available.
• SHMH Committee Report for the Annual Town Report was submitted to the Town by Mary Harwood.
5. New Business:
• Name Issue: “Old White Meeting House” vs. “South Hero Meeting House”. In general the building will be called the Old White Meeting House as that is the name in the historic deed when the property was given over to the Town. The project name will be the South Hero Meeting House Project.
• Mary Harwood Consultant Invoice $194, 1/2/2023 in the amount of $997.50. Motion by Michael Carroll to approve for payment. Second by Pamela Surprenant. Vote: 6 yes, 1 abstain as that person had not reviewed the invoice.
6. Public Comment –
• Mary Andrews said she felt the Old White Meeting House lent itself well to having a Town purpose such as moving the Town Office into it. She also said once that happened she liked the idea of the Grannies moving into the Town Office building as that is where they began! It would be like coming home for the Grannies.
• Sarah Kjelleren stated her strong support for the renovated Old White Meeting House meeting room to be used as a space for modular use by young entrepreneurs in order to make connections. Think of it as incubator space. There is no place like that in the Islands let alone South Hero.
• Donald Bedard supported another survey be done by the Town of all property owners asking their opinions of the use(s) for the renovated Old White Meeting House. Specifics could be asked such as do you think the Town Offices should be moved into it, should a kitchen be included, is an elevator needed etc.
• Beth Curtis asked for clarification on the status of the project.
• The Committee agreed that our first priority is to save the building! Therefore, phase #1 is moving forward as described previously. Down the line in say 2-4 years Phase 2 could happen after considerable community outreach is done.
7. Next Meeting – Tuesday, Jan 24,2023 at 3:30 PM at the Town Office & by Zoom.
8 Adjourned at 4:45 PM
Respectfully submitted by,
Sandy Gregg, Scribe