Library hopes for Moose Plate grant

$10K would go toward repairing deteriorating century-old historic balustrades

WILTON — Library trustees are hopeful that state grant funds, in addition to money approved during March Town Meeting, will give them enough capital to move forward with the repair of the balustrades that line the walk at the Wilton Public and Gregg Free Library.

Vice President of the Library Board of Trustees Hal Levine met with the Select Board Monday to get approval to apply for a Moose Plate grant for $10,000 to fix the historic balustrades, which are more than a century old.

The balustrades have been deteriorating in the most recent handful of years, Levine explained in a phone interview on Wednesday, and many of them are in need of either repair, or in some cases, replacement.

“Those are almost 110 year old, and they really didn’t start showing any deterioration until the last 10 years or so, so they’ve really held up,” said Levine.

How many of the 25 to 30 balustrades will need to be replaced and which can get by with repairs will only be determined after a contractor has assessed the damage, but trustees are estimating that the total cost of the project will be $20,000.

Voters have already approved funds that will cover more than half of the amount, passing a warrant article to allow the use of $13,250 from the Library Renovation Capital Reserve Fund during this year’s Town Meeting with a minimum of discussion after seeing photographs of the damage to the balustrades.

Work on the structure will only begin after the second half of the funds is secured, whether through the Moose Plate grant or other means, said Levine. Trustees currently do not have a back-up plan if the grant is not awarded, he said.

“We’re very hopeful that we can win it,” he said. Trustees expect to hear whether they will be awarded the grant in about a month, said Levine. If awarded, the library will contact a contractor to access the balustrades and hopefully, work can begin, he said.

If awarded, the grant will continue the aesthetic work begun last year with another $10,000 Moose Plate grant that the library trustees were awarded two years ago. Those funds were used to make repairs to the library windows, antique screen doors and front doors of the library.

The Trustees of the library meet regularly at 8 a.m. on the second Friday of the month. The Wilton Select Board meets Mondays at 6:30 p.m. in the Town Hall.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.

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