I am writing on behalf of the Dunbarton Town Hall Restoration Project Trustees to reassure you that, despite some setbacks, efforts to regain community use of the second floor of the Dunbarton Town Hall are ongoing and your contribution to the Project remains restricted to that purpose.
The Town Meeting vote and subsequent dissolution of the Town committee by the Selectmen were disappointing, but those setbacks in no way diminish the need for and inestimable value of this project for our town.
In response to comments from community members, we have changed the organization’s name by dropping “& Theatre,” though the eventual restoration of the stage should be integral to any restoration plan. We have taken other comments received at and following Town Meeting relative to design and cost to heart as well. We are reviewing the plan presented at Town Meeting and current building code requirements with an eye towards amending the plan to cut costs. However, the final plan as presented at Town Meeting uses space very efficiently, meets code, and protects the grand stairway, for which people have expressed strong affection, the facade of the building facing Rte. 13, and the library’s security. All the major cost-cutting redesigns suggested to date would adversely impact some or all these goals, and we are continuing to seek other ways to cut costs.
This spring we with the Friends of the Town Hall cancelled the Arts on the Common festival, in part from lack of vendors and in part from a dispirited corps of volunteers. Plans are already underway to bring back this community event and Town Hall fundraiser next May. Don and Enid Larsen continue to head up the Friends of the Town Hall to coordinate it and other local fundraising. Your ideas are welcome!
With much to do, we would also welcome additional trustees. Our bylaws allow up to 20 trustees, and we are far from that cap. Current trustees are Tiffany Dodd, Travis James, Clem Madden, Shelley Westenberg, and me. We have been meeting the 4th Wednesday of the month at 7 PM, generally at the Town Hall.
If you have an outstanding pledge, I encourage you to follow through with it as scheduled, or please give me a call. We are investing most of the funds that were raised in laddered, short-term CDs. All contributions received are dedicated to this project and this project only.
Short of a miraculous windfall of cash, the earliest we plan to bring a new restoration proposal to Town Meeting is 2017. Please do not hesitate to contact any trustee if you have questions, ideas, or would like to serve on the Board or a committee. The project’s success depends on all of us working together with other community members and elected officials to celebrate and retain this cornerstone of our shared small town heritage. Thank you for your support!
Margaret Watkins, Chair