Putney Historical Society is awarded two major preservation grants for Next Stage; Phase 2 of Capital Campaign with Next Stage Arts Project well under way

on Jan 11th 2014

Contact:            Lyssa Papazian, PHS Board Member, Chair Development Committee

(802) 387-2878, mobile (802) 579-3698, papazian@gaw.com

The Putney Historical Society is pleased to announce the receipt of two grants in connection with its ongoing collaboration with Next Stage Arts Project to preserve and renovate the historic, former church building at 15 Kimball Hill in Putney into a professional performing arts center.

The grants include $70,000 from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) that was awarded at their December 2013 board meeting, and $20,000 from the Vermont Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) and the Division for Historic Preservation (DHP) that was awarded just before Christmas.

Together, Putney Historical Society (PHS) and Next Stage Arts Project (NSAP) have launched a $500,000 Building Fund capital campaign representing the second phase of the long term rehabilitation of the building. With these newly awarded grants, $240,000 of the Phase 2 funding has been secured.

The Phase 2 scope of work incorporates the bulk of the major improvements outlined in the ‘2010 Performing Arts Center Feasibility Study’ commissioned by PHS – including the installation of an elevator to make Next Stage fully accessible, restoration of the slate roof and belfry, exterior repair and painting, electrical upgrades, structural repair, addition of a sprinkler system, and other key interior improvements to the performance space.

“Putney Historical Society is excited about the positive energy that Next Stage brings to the cultural and economic life of the village, and these grants enable us to continue our work preserving and adapting the historic building that has served as a vital community gathering place in Putney since 1841,” said Lyssa Papazian, Development Committee Chair for PHS. “The VHCB grant is part of a statewide conservation program and also includes a historic preservation easement on the landmark building ensuring its long-term preservation,” she explained. The DHP grant was one of 17 awarded in December 2013 for restoration and repair of historic buildings statewide. It is a one to one matching grant and relied on a $20,000 in-hand match raised through local pledges and Putney Historical Society’s building reserves.

The two new grants build on the Vermont Village Center Tax credit of $110,000 awarded in 2012 for building code work and close to $40,000 secured in recent local donations, pledges, building reserves, and other grants bringing the total Phase 2 funds raised to date to $240,000.

The timing of the Phase 2 campaign seeks to leverage the significant show of support from foundations and the state of Vermont, while assuring that the work can be completed before the tax credits expire in 2016. With almost half the Phase 2 Building Fund committed, PHS and NSAP are now moving to the public stage of the campaign and reaching out to the community to help raise the remaining funds.

“The work we are doing with the Putney Historical Society reflects a national trend to adapt and re-use important historic spaces to help revitalize communities across the country. In three short years, Next Stage has facilitated many school collaborations and events that are drawing audiences to Putney and helping support the village economy,” said Billy Straus, President and Co-Founder of Next Stage Arts Project.

Over the last three years – with considerable local, state, and foundation support – Putney Historical Society and Next Stage Arts Project completed Phase 1 which called for $75,000 of critical work covering air circulation, energy efficiency, electrical service, access improvement, fire safety, seating, and basic stage/lighting items allowing the doors to stay open while the two organizations work to address the larger code and repair issues. The $500,000 Phase 2 capital campaign now underway assures structural and building envelope work can be completed, thus assuring the venue and historic building remain viable for the future.

100% of the funds raised as part of the Building Fund will be used in connection with the building renovation project, and remain separate from PHS’s and Next Stage Arts Project’s operational budgets which fund all the programming related expenses at Next Stage.

A future Phase 3 will incorporate additional work to renovate and expand the rear addition/kitchen and complete the performance space upgrades.

In 2009, the former United Church of Putney congregation donated the building to the Putney Historical Society. After the successful reconstruction and re-opening of the Putney General Store in 2011, this is the PHS’s second project to provide creative solutions to economic and community development for the village of Putney.

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