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To the editor: The board of Broad Brook Community Center (BBCC) wishes to thank Richard Epstein, founder of Wild Root Arts, and the supporters of Hooker Dunham Theater & Gallery, for a donation of $10,584.30 in support of the elevator installation at the Broad Brook Community Center in Guilford.

According to Richard, during his tenure (from 1999 to 2006), Wild Root Arts began raising and setting aside funds to install an elevator in the Hooker-Dunham Building, to bring theater-goers down the one flight from Main Street to the theater space below. Although Wild Root Arts’ intention was to provide a fully accessible venue for the community, the theater was in a space that was privately owned, so grant funding was not possible. Without grant support, the goal became unachievable. Over the years, the funds have been held in a separate account at Brattleboro Savings & Loan, because, as Richard told us, in spirit and intention those monies exclusively belonged to the cause of accessibility. 

BBCC purchased the Broad Brook Grange #151 in 2018, and has been improving and updating the hall as a gathering space in the heart of Guilford Center. The project is now in its final round of construction, and although there are many moving parts to this undertaking, installing a lift to the second floor is by far the most anticipated.

In making this gift to BBCC, Richard told us, “Though not in the Hooker-Dunham building, nor even in downtown Brattleboro, the Broad Brook Community Center is in fact achieving the formidable goal of an ADA compliant lift. Its theater is much like the Hooker-Dunham’s — a small stage set in a charming space. There is an intimacy that can be felt on both sides of the ‘fourth wall.’ Furthermore, BBCC is, like Wild Root Arts was in its day, dedicated to the community. They have the need, the drive and, by owning the old grange, the ability to make possible what Wild Root Arts dreamed of so many years ago.”

Richard’s and Wild Root Arts’ gift gives our elevator project a huge boost. We are enormously grateful to Richard for honoring Broad Brook Community Center with fulfilling his vision. Accessibility in historic buildings is a challenge anywhere you go. Richard’s foresight, community spirit and generosity will have a huge impact and are very much appreciated.

Don McLean, President

Broad Brook Community Center

Guilford, May 25