Mason gets another month on Freedom’s Way grant

  • Mark LeClair of Earthworks by LeClair & Sons, Inc., finishes installing a new drainage system at Mason Town Hall. —PHOTO COURTESY BARBARA DEVORE

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 8/29/2022 2:33:31 PM
Modified: 8/29/2022 2:33:18 PM

Mason received a one-month grant extension that will allow a piece of the renovation work at Town Hall to continue. 

The historic Town Hall on Darling Hill Road has been undergoing major renovations this summer as part of a long-term project to restore the building’s foundation and interior. According to Town Hall Renovation Committee member Barbara DeVore, repairing the historic building top-to-bottom will cost the town at $300,000, and could take more than 10 years to complete. 

According to Town Hall Renovation Committee Chair Jim Dore, the town raised $13,790 through various events in 2021, including the townwide yard sale on July 10 and Mason Old Home Day on Sept. 11. However, the fundraising efforts weren’t nearly enough to cover the cost to repair the town hall. To help finance the project, the Mason Town Hall Renovation Committee received a $10,000 Conservation License Plate Grant from the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources in 2021.

Additionally, Mason also collected a $5,000 grant from the Freedom's Way National Heritage Area last year dedicated to financing phase one of the renovation -- addressing the failing drainage and foundation issues caused by excessive flooding and deterioration over nearly 174 years. The Freedom’s Way grant was set to expire in August, but Mason received an extension until Sept. 15 to wrap up phase one. DeVore said the extension will help propel the renovation project forward. 

“The extension is minimal, but we are grateful because it means more money is coming in,” said DeVore. “We have to prove to Freedom’s Way we have done the work.”

As of Aug. 17, Mason-based excavation company Earthworks by LeClair and Sons, Inc. finished installing a new drainage system for Town Hall. Fourth-generation Mason resident and owner of Earthworks Mark LeClair said the necessary renovations will keep the historical building up and running for generations to come.

“It’s a historical part of the town,” said LeClair. “I hope it’s a viable place people can congregate and use in the future.”

The next step for LeClair is to address the building’s foundational problems by repairing and realigning the original support beams. LeClair said he is planning to fix the building’s foundation before the Freedom’s Way grant expires on Sept. 15.

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