Many Community Donations and Grants Help Putney Historical Society Successfully Complete Improvements at Next Stage/15 Kimball Hill

on Apr 8th 2013

Contact: Lyssa Papazian, PHS Board Member, Chair Development Committee–802) 387-2878, mobile (802) 579-3698, papazian@gaw.com
The new bathrooms (including one ADA accessible) and rear fire exit at Next Stage/15 Kimball Hill are now complete. The Putney Historical Society is pleased to be able to say that the building is now in compliance with fire and life-safety code and is a major step closer to full compliance with ADA regulations. The first floor is now fully accessible and the second floor has a code-compliant rear fire exit. In addition, the two bathrooms and rear addition in poor condition have been rebuilt and the crawl space has a new vapor barrier. These improvements are critical to allowing events to continue at the emerging new Next Stage community and performance venue in Putney. With the tremendous support of over 85 local donors and five grants, Putney Historical Society (PHS) has been successful in its effort to raise over $25,000 to do the code construction work at the 1841 historic former United Church Of Putney – 15 Kimball Hill – which is now the home of PHS offices and Next Stage Arts project. The “Building Compliance & Emergency Project” was launched quietly in the summer with a local appeal to members and past donors as well as several grant applications. The project has been supported by the State of Vermont through a Cultural Facilities Grant from the Vermont Arts Council of $12,750. Other generous foundation grants include The Vermont Community Foundation through its Small and Inspiring Grant Program ($2000), the Walter Cerf Community Fund ($2500), the Riverledge Foundation ($2000) and the Crosby-Gannet Fund ($500). Over $6500 came from 88 local donors and the in-kind support of Farnum Cellulose and local carpenters Nick Keil and Abijah Reed.
PHS still hopes to raise money to build a $10,000 Emergency Reserve Fund to address repairs and other critical issues (roof leaks, paint/structure failure, or mechanical repairs) if they arise in the next few years. In fact we already had to repair roof leaks and replace an aging hot water heater in the last several months alone.
Background
Since 2010, the Putney Historical Society has partnered with Next Stage Arts to develop 15 Kimball Hill – the former church building in the center of Putney Village – into a fully functioning performing arts and community center. Their overall goals for Next Stage/15 Kimball Hill are to help revitalize and sustain the slumped local village economy and keep an important landmark alive and serving the community. The historic building is in fair to good condition and stable but needs safety and ADA access improvements to continue being used while we build toward a larger capital campaign. We have a 5-year plan for a comprehensive rehabilitation/preservation of the building that addresses all the code and building needs identified in recent evaluations and feasibility plans which will require a longer fund-raising planning process. As reported in the Brattleboro Reformer recently. the larger project was just awarded a Village Center tax credit of over $125,000 towards code and façade improvements which will include an elevator and sprinkler system.
In the interim, PHS developed the 2-year “Building Compliance & Emergency” project which will keep the building in use to continue to develop the audience and fund-raising constituency for the larger rehabilitation. The 2-yr Building Compliance and Emergency fund has been approached through small grants and very low-key local appeals to continue operating and avoid potential local donor fatigue while a larger capital campaign is fully planned for the next steps along the path to a fully compliant and state of the art performance and gathering venue. Over the last 2-3 years both PHS and Next Stage (with the help of donations and grants) have managed to accomplish a considerable amount of improvements to the safety and operations of the building including electrical upgrade work, insulation of the walls and windows, code work to the furnace room and front stairs, installation of a fire alarm system and lighted egress signage, roof repair, as well as improvements to the stage, lighting and technical room.
Successful Fundraising
The success of the “Building Compliance Project”, our past accomplishments, and a recent vote of confidence by the Vermont Downtown Board in awarding the long term renovation project a substantial tax credit will be an enormous help in our effort to launch a larger capital campaign to achieve all our goals.

Building Compliance & Emergency Project Information:

Owner: Putney Historical Society
Architect: Greenberg Assocs.
General Contractor: Severance Building & Design plus individual work on the crawl space by Farnum Cellulose Insulators
Major Funding By:
-Over 85 Generous Individual Local Donors
-Vermont Arts Council – Cultural Facilities Program
-Vermont Community Foundation – Small & Inspiring Fund
-Vermont Community Foundation – Walter Cerf Fund
-Riverledge Foundation
-Crosby-Gannet Fund
-In-kind donations such as labor from volunteers and discounts from Farnum

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