Restoration begins on Chester Town Hall

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The Town Hall cupola in need of repairs and paint. Photos by Shawn Cunningham

For years, Chester Select Board members have complained about the state of Town Hall during their twice monthly meetings on the second floor of 556 Elm St.

Former member Bill Lindsay was particularly vocal about the embarrassing state of the historic building, often taking time during meetings to point out where the roof was leaking, where plaster was falling and where ceiling panels were missing.

And masonry around the 135-year-old building has needed attention.

At the same time, successive boards have deferred or underfunded maintenance and the problems have only worsened.

But, on Town Meeting day in March 2018, voters approved a $408,000 restoration of the building which began last month.

The exterior work includes repairing and restoring the cupola, replacing the slate roof, repairing the eaves, soffits and other finish woodwork, painting windows, repairing and repointing masonry, removing the fire escape and refurbishing the front porch, including replacing the flooring.

With the drop ceiling removed, it’s easy to see where leaks around the chimney in the kitchen have eroded the plaster.

The interior work includes refinishing hallway floors and stairs on the first and second floors, refinishing the floor in the second floor hall, removing the stairs to the loft, renovating the second floor kitchen and removing old ceiling tiles and replacing them with sheet rock.

Wright Construction of Mt. Holly is the general contractor for the work, which is expected to be completed by the end of August.

Meetings move elsewhere

With the ceiling stripped, it’s ready for sheet rock and paint

In the meantime, the town’s boards, committees, commissions and other organizations are finding other places to meet. Be sure to check the agenda for any meeting you plan to attend to make sure you know where it will be taking place.

Chester Select Board meetings are being held in the town office downstairs.

 

The shadow is all that is left of the stairs to the loft

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  1. Ralph Pace says:

    Good luck – the resulting improvements and increased usage of the facility will more than justify the efforts involved in the project!

    Editor’s Note: Ralph Pace of Ludlow helped bring new life to the Ludlow Town Hall auditorium.

  2. lew watters says:

    Be sure that acoustical improvements are made as well. I am a hearing impaired Vietnam Veteran who presently cannot attend meetings at the town hall upstairs due to poor acoustics. This may well include improving the audio system as well.

    If you want good attendance and citizen participation, make the room work for all. Thank you.

    Lew Watters
    Stone Village

  3. About 10-15 years ago (?) Jack Coleman contacted me about the possibility of contributing to the restoration of the second floor. I committed to providing material to re-do the floor.

    The offer stands, as well as material for stairs, moulding etc. Whatever is within our ability – you tell me what you need and I’ll make it happen. The town of Chester (people and government) have been a substantial part of our 40 year history and we would consider it an honor to be a part of this project.

    David Waldmann
    President
    Vermont Hardwoods

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