Restoration of Upper Village Hall Nears Completion

Restoration of a town treasure is almost complete, the Derry Town Council learned in a recent meeting.
Paul Dionne, president of the East Derry Village Improvement Society (EDVIS), attended the Oct. 15 meeting to report on repairs to the historic Upper Village Hall. Dionne reported that the Society has almost completed a checklist of items from its contract with the town, as previously reported in the Nutfield News.

Dionne said the heating system is up to code and has been since the winter of 2012. The electricity has been brought up to code with 200-amp panels, offering “plenty of room for expansion,” he said. An air-conditioning system has also been installed, Dionne said.
The plumbing and electrical systems in the basement are up to code, he said, although the basement has been “gutted” and the Society has no plans to use it at this time.
The second-floor electrical system is up to code, Dionne said. There is no plumbing on the second floor and the floor is not open to the public, but is used for storage and board meetings.
And the entire first floor interior has been repainted, Dionne said.
Only one item on the checklist remains, to have the exterior painted. The front has been painted and they are beginning the sides, he told the Council. The paint was donated by the Benson family, owners of Benson’s Lumber and Hardware, and the labor is being donated by Simpson Painting.
The building is fulfilling its potential as a community resource, according to Dionne. “We saw 30 rentals in 2012, and we’ve had 80 so far in 2013 – and we’re expecting 20 more before the end of the year,” he said. “We are holding our own.”
Council Chairman Michael Fairbanks asked, “Barring the exterior painting, have all the obligations been met?” They have, Dionne assured him, saying, “It’s been a lot of volunteering, sweat equity, and late nights.”
“It is great to see the building come back to the way it was,” Councilor Neil Wetherbee said.
The Upper Village Hall was built in 1875 and served as the center of East Derry life, as a fire station, town hall, Grange hall, veterans’ hall and library. The EDVIS purchased it from the town for $1 in 2004, with the intent of restoring it for community use.
The board voted 5-0-1 to approve the report, with Councilor Brad Benson, a member of the board, abstaining.
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