EASTBROOK — Four years after residents almost voted to tear the building down, the Eastbrook Town House is slowly but surely getting a new lease on life.
In recent years, a volunteer committee has worked to raise money and secure grant funding to make improvements to the building. As a result, it now has a foundation underneath it for the first time in its history.
Diane Collar, secretary of the five-member Eastbrook Town House Restoration Committee, said that work was done this fall by local companies and contractors.
Atherton Construction of Hancock did excavation work at the site, while John Patten of Eastbrook built the forms and poured the foundation. Jordan Building Movers, run by Ken Jordan of Waltham, moved the building — first lifting it from its long-time location and setting it to the side, then sliding it over the foundation once it was poured and cured.
The building, which dates to 1880, is now buttoned-up for the winter and awaiting additional work in the spring, according to Collar.
Donations for the cause have totaled almost $2,500 and grant funding has totaled $48,100. That’s in addition to $20,000 from the town of Eastbrook, which allocated the dollars from community benefit fund money the town receives as a result of nearby wind energy projects.
Grant funding has come from the Davis Family Foundation ($25,000), the Belvedere Historic Preservation Grant Program administered by the Maine Community Foundation ($19,500 over two years), the Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust ($3,600) and the Maine State Grange — Patrons of Husbandry ($250).
“We’ve done good,” Collar said.
More work remains to be done, however. Collar said Ames Associates of Bangor did an assessment of the building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, and Collar said that assessment provides the local committee with a sort of checklist — and it’s not a short one — of what remains to be done.
Redoing the roof (which is now covered with a tarp) is one of the projects, as is exterior renovation work such as restoring trim, windows and doors. The money from the Grange will be used to build a picnic table that will be placed on the property, and granite blocks that used to be underneath the building may be used to create garden space there.
Collar said the committee would like to have local contractors submit bids to do such restoration work, as “employ local people” has been a guiding principle all along.
Collar said the committee has been “exceedingly pleased” with the work of the local contractors that have worked on the project so far, as well as their “accommodation and generosity.” She said electrician Brian Lane, for example, was “wonderful” and only charged for his labor.
“They have all contributed time and effort beyond their initial bids,” Collar said of the contractors.
The committee will continue to work to raise funds as Collar said the restoration work is expensive, even with the generosity of those who have done work already.
The goal, Collar said, is to once again make the Town House a community center with events and activities that bring residents and people from other communities as well. She listed a farmers market or craft fairs as examples, and noted those events would also allow vendors to make some money as well.
The committee hopes to have an open house on Mother’s Day weekend in May to coincide with a monthly breakfast being put on at the nearby Greenwood Grange.
For more information about the Town House restoration project or how to help, with either money or labor, contact Collar at 565-3646. The committee is also looking for someone who can help write more grants in the future.