Money needed for Meeting Hall

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The Rumford Center Meeting Hall, which served as Rumford’s first town hall, is in need of structural repairs. (Submitted photo)

RUMFORD — Selectmen have agreed to get a proposal from a local contractor on what it would cost to extend the life of the Rumford Center Meeting Hall.

Over its 180 years, the hall has served the community well, but despite the efforts of the Village Improvement Society to maintain it, the building is in need of structural repairs.

Members of the society presented their case to the Board of Selectmen on Jan. 25, with a request for funding to be considered.

Town Manager Linda-Jean Briggs said the town has money available for a study to be done on the meeting hall.

The society has raised money for years, resulting in new doors and windows for the building, a new furnace and other things to help maintain the meeting house.

“It’s in terrible, terrible condition,” VIS member Linda Macgregor said. “We need to take care of it.”

She noted the importance of the building, which served as Rumford’s first town hall. Near the facility now is a new boat launch, a walking trail and a restaurant.

Kenneth MacFawn, VIS chairman, wrote that the society consulted with Mike Mills, the superintendent of Public Works and Parks for Rumford and a building contractor from Andover. “They both realized that ‘something’ must be done or the deterioration will only worsen. The extent of damage and a fixed cost for repairs remain unknown at this time.”

MacFawn said budget estimates for repairs are based only on a brief overview and visual inspection of the damage, adding that a more accurate estimate could be prepared once outside sheathing is removed.

His written statement proposed two options:

• Option one would cost about $20,000 and would extend the life of the building for up to 50 years. It would involve minor excavation; removing several feet of sheathing on exterior walls, exposing sills, walls and floors; inspecting the complete floor system for necessary shimming, leveling and removing excessive sag in the rear of the building and repairing as required.

• Option two, for about $50,000, would extend the useful life of the building up to 100 years. Work would include extensive excavation to enable a contractor to shore up the building while digging for a footing and frost wall installation; inspecting and repairing sills, wall uprights and floor damage while exposed; and setting the building on new walls, installing exterior sheathing and installing floor leveling apparatus where necessary.

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