A group of community volunteers came together a few years ago to explore interest in restoring and renovating South Hero’s Old White Meeting House for year-round use. The Town applied for and received two planning grants. Subsequently, Preservation Trust of Vermont awarded teh Town a $100,000 Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization grant and voters approved a one-time $150,000 contribution toward stabilizing the building. Recently, Senator Welch recommended a $800,000 Save America’s Treasures grant, but we can not access this funding until South Hero’s Historic District is fully listed on the National Register. This is in process and we have hopes of renewing this application in the federal FY25 budget. This funding from the National Park Service, if awarded, along with earlier funding, will cover the majority of the cost of revitalizing the historic structure for year-round use. The Committee has also formed the non-profit South Hero Foundation Inc. to facilitate fundraising for the renovation and revitalization of the Meeting House. Gifts to further this work can be made online here, or by sending a check made out to the South Hero Foundation Inc., PO Box 441, South Hero, VT 05486.
The first planning grant paid for a community wide survey and an assessment of the structural integrity of the building. The assessment indicated that the building will need work on the foundation and restoration of the East wall, which was compromised when large bay doors were cut into it to accommodate fire and rescue vehicles. The community survey showed strong support for using the building for a wide range of activities.
The second planning grant covered the costs of preliminary plans for basic restoration, paving the way for a full renovation and restoration project that could begin as early as 2023. See below for PDFs of the reports on the project.
We recently received the draft of the Historic Preservation Review Report from the consultant hired as part of the planning grant. This document reviews the condition of the building and recommends that planned restoration of the building is in line with best practices of historic preservation. This will be part of the information presented to the National Park Service, as required by the Bruhn grant, to determine eligibility of the Meeting House for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. Read the report here.
We have also received the consultant’s report that is also part of determining eligibility for listing in the National Register. He recommends listing the area around the Meeting House as an historic district, which will make the Meeting House eligible for both federal grants through the National Park Service. The draft of his report (which is pending revision and is not yet 100% accurate) can be accessed here.
First Planning Grant Final Report – Includes Engineering Ventures assessment of the building and resuts of community survey.
Contract with Arnold & Scangas for architectural, engineering, environmental and historical reviews
2020 VCDP Planning Grant Information – Progress to date: Select Board to accept bid for engineering work summer 2021 in preparation for construction to begin in 2022.
- David C. Carter, Chair
- Michael Carroll
- Beth Curtis
- Bret Corbin
- Sandy Gregg
- Sarah Kjelleren
- Terry Robinson
- Linda Seavey
- Pamela Surprenant
- Carol Tremble
- Mary Harwood, Consultant
- Robin Way
- Emily Kloft & Greta Brunswick, Northwest Regional Planning Commission