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Volunteers offer to raise funds for Peterborough kitchen

jeff King, community center kitchen

(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

jeff King, community center kitchen (Staff photo by Dave Anderson) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

PETERBOROUGH — With $96,000 on hand as a result of three grants, the town of Peterborough needs about $44,000 more in order to start work on a kitchen for the Community Center on Elm Street. Recreation Director Jeff King and DPW Director Rodney Bartlett hope to get the kitchen built this summer, and on Tuesday the Select Board gave two volunteers the go-ahead to spearhead a short-term fundraising campaign.

“We’ve been told by Rodney that he wants to put shovels in the ground in June,” said Mike Klein of Gilsum, who will be working with Carol Nelson of Peterborough to raise the funds needed to complete the kitchen, which is estimated to cost $140,000. “We feel this is a vital part of the community.”

“The Community Center is being used by the farmer’s market, the food pantry, the Cornucopia project,” Nelson said. “We want them to be involved in the planning of the project.”

Nelson said local Community Supported Agriculture groups might also be potential users of a kitchen at the Community Center and she hoped they might become involved with the fundraising.

“We’re not going to just stay local,” Nelson said. “Our plan is to start local and reach broadly.”

She said the fundraisers might be able to look into selling naming rights for the kitchen and are also thinking of starting a Kickstarter online campaign to raise money.

Klein, who is the husband of Peterborough Community Development Director Carol Ogilvie, has a background in community organization, including work on the Keene pumpkin festival as executive director of Center Stage Cheshire County. He’s also been chair of the Gilsum Planning Board and editor and publisher of the Gilsum town newsletter.

Nelson has been involved in product marketing in both publishing and event planning for more than 20 years. She’s a longtime member of the Peterborough Lions Club and has been one of the organizers of their annual Lucky Duck Race fundraiser.

Select Board members Joe Byk and Barbara Miller approved the fundraising campaign, although Byk said he’d want to hear more details regarding naming rights.

“Once we have a functioning kitchen, we can do so much more,” Miller said about the Community Center.

The Community Center is intended to be self-supporting, and the town has received grant of $11,000 from the Isabelle Miller Fund, $15,000 from the Daniels Foundation, and a NH Charitable Foundation matching grant of $70,000.

On Wednesday, Peterborough Town Manager Pam Brenner said the estimate for the kitchen is being reviewed. “Our goal is to raise $140,000, but hopefully we can bring in the kitchen for less.”

She said that would allow additional money to be used for other purposes at the Community Center.

Brenner said the kitchen is “one of the final pieces of the puzzle” in making the Community Center fully functional. It would allow the Recreation Department, which is charged with managing the facility for the town, to rent the space for weddings, banquets or other events. She said it would give more flexibility for the farmer’s market, which pays rent, to expand and might provide a way to offer cooking classes, which would also generate income.

The grant money has already been useful as the town prepares to build the kitchen. Brenner and King recently attended an auction in Bedford, where they bought stainless steel serving tables, pots and pans, dishes, silverware and other equipment from a restaurant that had closed. And King said they picked up a large industrial commercial stove, a commercial refrigerator/freezer unit, and other items from a Peterborough couple who were renovating their kitchen.

“We will need a new kitchen sink,” King said, because the one left behind when the National Guard armory closed does not meet current codes.

The equipment is in storage until construction of the kitchen can begin.

Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or danderson@ledgertranscript.com. He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.

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