The Pawlet Newsletter has been published continuously since April 2003 as a way of making town news available and encouraging community involvement. Approximately 1,200 copies of each issue are distributed to Pawlet residents and out-of-town subscribers. Additional sources of information include the Town’s web site and regular email updates available from Town Clerk Deb Hawkins and Newsletter Editor Elizabeth Gibson. The Town is committed to continuing distribution of print copies of this newsletter, and it may also be viewed online here.
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Town of Pawlet hosts grand opening of ADA-compliant phase of the Town Hall restoration project
Pawlet, VT, October 8, 2010 – The Town of Pawlet held an open house at the Pawlet Town Hall today to celebrate completion of the ADA-handicap accessible phase of the Town Hall restoration project. The Pawlet Town Hall was built in 1881 and, like many town halls in New England, was constructed without ADA access or elevators.
The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) phase of the project was successfully finished in July. The building is now totally ADA-compliant, with a handicap-accessible entrance on each floor, and a three-stop accessible full-service elevator. In addition, the cupola has been fully restored.
“These improvements are important,” said Governor Jim Douglas when he spoke at the Cultural Facilities Grant award ceremony about this and 13 other similar projects throughout Vermont. “Helping a facility comply with the Americans for Disabilities Act allows everyone to have a chance to access the opportunities that are presented to them.” The governor also stressed the “tremendous dividends” these renovation projects offer in terms of creating jobs: “They are good for the economy and good for everyone.”
Ann Cousins, Field Service Representative, Preservation Trust of Vermont, commented, “We are very pleased to have been able to help with the rehabilitation and reopening of the Town Hall’s auditorium. We are grateful to Senator Patrick Leahy for his partnership and support of the Village Revitalization Initiative grant that provided a grant for the Town Hall and other village venues around the State. Now, on to this fantastic painted ceiling and the interior finishes!”
Tayt Brooks, Vermont Commissioner of Economic, Housing and Community Development, said, “The $50,000 grant the state made to the Town of Pawlet in 2009 to refurbish this historic town hall and improve handicapped accessibility was an investment in both an historic building and in the vitality of this community. The second-floor auditorium can now be more easily accessed, making it more available for community events.”
Molly Lambert, State Director of USDA Rural Development, commented, “The Town of Pawlet has done an admirable job obtaining multiple grants and funding sources. Now all people of Pawlet will have access to a vitally important center of the community. USDA Rural Development is proud to participate in this effort that restores a historically important building while providing essential accessibility for all members of the community.”
“We are very pleased to see the restoration of the Town Hall, particularly the building’s cupola and spire, for which we provided an $11,000 grant,” commented Giovanna Peebles, State Historic Preservation Officer and head of the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. “This really reinforces the wise decision of Pawlet’s voters in 2003 to restore this building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, rather than replace it.”
This work was made possible thanks to: grants from VCDP-AM (Vermont Community Development Program-Accessibility Modifications) for $50,000, ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) through USDA-RD CF (U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development Community Facilities) for $35,226.66, VAC-CF (Vermont Arts Council – Community Facilities) for $14,800, VDHP (Vermont Division for Historic Preservation) for $11,000, and HAVA (Help America Vote Act) for $5,000; private donations; and the Town of Pawlet.
The Pawlet Town Hall cupola restoration is funded in part from a Village Revitalization Initiative grant — a partnership between the Preservation Trust of Vermont and Senator Patrick Leahy, with funding from HUD.
The Town Hall restoration project began in 2003 when the voters of Pawlet by a margin of 3:1 decided not to investigate construction of a new town office building. The overall restoration is about 75 percent complete. The next crucial step is to stabilize the auditorium ceiling. The historically significant decoration on the ceiling will be repaired, and the historic wall stencils will be reproduced. Two grants are being sought to accomplish this step, and additional matching funds will be required to meet the total estimated cost of $40,000. About 50 people attended today’s open house, including many community members, private donors, and:
-Ann Cousins, Field Service Representative, Preservation Trust of Vermont
-Meg Campbell, Field Service Representative, Preservation Trust of Vermont
-Josh Hanford, Director, Vermont Community Development Program
-Carl Bohlen, Community Development Specialist,
Vermont Community Development Program
-Andrea Ansevin-Allen, Community Programs Specialist,
US Department of Agriculture –Rural Development
-Jon-Michael Muise, Area Director, Rutland, Bennington, Windham, and Windsor Counties, USDA – Rural Development
-Michele Bailey, Director of Programs, Vermont Arts Council – Community Facilities
-John Malcolm, Sate Representative for Pawlet, Middletown Springs, Rupert and Wells
-Sue LaPorte, Vice Chair, Pawlet Select Board
-Keith Mason, Pawlet Select Board Chair, March 2004 – March 2010
-Steve Williams, President, Pawlett Historical Society
Tax-deductible donations for the restoration project are needed; checks payable to “Town of Pawlet Town Hall Restoration” can be mailed to Judy Coolidge, Treasurer, Town of Pawlet, PO Box 128, Pawlet, VT 05761.