Broad Brook Community Center receives $60K grant

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GUILFORD — Broad Brook Community Center has been awarded a grant from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) in the amount of $60,000 to restore and protect historic elements of the 1896 Grange Hall in Guilford Center, currently awaiting a second phase of renovations.

Rick Zamore, chair of the Building and Grounds Committee states, "We are deeply grateful to VHCB for this support, and the recognition of the efforts by BBCC and the Guilford community to maintain the history built into this wonderful building."

The grant will go toward window restoration and weatherization, interior and exterior painting, and refinishing the Douglas fir floors.

Suzanne Jamele, the historic preservation consultant contracted by VHCB, recognized the building for "its longstanding role in the social life of the small rural village of Guilford Center," and confirmed its "outstanding historical significance" as a "very early example of its type." She also noted that it met the grant criteria of playing "a crucial role in defining and maintaining a special landscape or village setting of statewide or local significance."

VHCB Conservation Director Karen Freeman and her team visited the Center to catalog the many historic features. In a post-visit email she expressed VHCB's "thanks for your great work and for `keeping the lights on' for your community in this unsettling and rapidly evolving time," a reference to BBCC's offer of its broadband service to Guilford residents and serving as a meal pickup station for the school district while the schools are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Guilford Food Pantry is also continuing to supply nutritional support to families, operating at the BBCC during its regular hours from 5 to 6 p.m. on Thursdays, now as a drive-up service for the sake of public health.

BBCC's plans for renovation are in the Act 250 permitting phase, which typically takes several months to complete. Meanwhile, the building is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, except for the essential services mentioned above. BBCC is also collaborating with the town of Guilford and Guilford Cares to coordinate services for those in need during this challenging time. There is an online survey that citizens can fill out to share their needs and their offers to volunteer. The survey can be accessed at https://www.tinyurl.com/GuilfordVTsurvey.

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