Rindge

Windows to town’s past

$12K LCHIP grant helps complete $30K window project

  • Rindge Meetinghouse window replacement project is expected to be complete this fall.<br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Rindge Meetinghouse window replacement project is expected to be complete this fall.<br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Rindge Meetinghouse window replacement project is expected to be complete this fall.<br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Rindge Meetinghouse window replacement project is expected to be complete this fall.<br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

RINDGE — Restoration of 31 windows at a centuries-old meetinghouse began last month and is expected to be complete by mid-September. The approximately $30,000 project is moving forward, thanks to $12,000 in grant funds from the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, awarded to the town in December 2012.

Wednesday, the Select Board signed a contract with Steve Decatur, whose Decatur Windows Company in Alton specializes in historic window restoration, to complete the long-awaited window project at the Rindge Meetinghouse, which was built in 1796 just 28 years after the incorporation of the town. Today, it is one of a few buildings in the state still used for both church and town functions, according to town officials.

With the help of a $12,000 grant from LCHIP — which provides matching grants to New Hampshire communities to protect and preserve historic buildings and land — the town has asked Decatur to extract the old glass and repair the window sashes. Those sashes currently permit bugs and moisture to enter, and rot has permeated the frames . In addition to paint touch-ups and the replacement of any broken glass, Decatur will install new storm windows on the first floor of the Meetinghouse.

As of last week, Decatur had removed a handful of windows on the first floor of the building and installed a temporary weather-tight covering. Decatur has since taken the windows to his shop in Alton, where town officials say he will complete a portion of the restoration work.

The window project is estimated to cost just under $30,000, with the LCHIP grant paying for a portion of the work. The approximately $18,000 not covered by the grant will be paid for out of the Ward Trust Fund , an endowment created 18 years ago for the preservation of the Meetinghouse, Town Administrator Carlotta Lilback Pini said at Wednesday’s Select Board meeting. According to the 2012 Town Report, the trust left behind by Ralph Ward for maintenance of the Meetinghouse contains about $500,000. “There is no tax money going to this project,” Pini said of the window restoration work.

Given the amount of money the town has allocated for the project, Pini said by phone Thursday, the Meetinghouse Oversight Committee has deferred a plan to install storm windows on the Meetinghouse’s second floor. The second floor windows were constructed from insulated glass that is approximately 15 years old and, therefore, are not in need of immediate replacement, Pini said.

In late 2012, there was a last minute rush to submit grant applications to LCHIP, when the independent state authority announced it had $500,000 leftover from completed or withdrawn projects in 2012 to assist with the restoration of historic buildings and conservation lands. Rindge and the historic Town Hall in Francestown — formerly the Francestown Academy — were two projects that benefited.

While funding for the state grants has traditionally come from $25 fees charged on documents recorded at the state’s county registry offices, LCHIP released a statement in December 2012 saying it had received just 35 percent of the registry fee income since the system was implemented in 2009, and that the Legislature had diverted the funds for other purposes. But recent efforts by the state’s political leaders may signal a change in sentiment. The state’s two-year budget signed into law by Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan on Friday includes full funding for the program. That will mean $4 million each year for the next two years.

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or adandrea@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

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