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Meeting house unveils heating, wheelchair accessibility improvements

3 mins read
Chesterville Center Union Meeting House
Chesterville Center Union Meeting House

CHESTERVILLE – Travelers through Chesterville over the past few years have watched the steady progress of construction activity on and around the old Chesterville Center Union Meeting House.

On Saturday, June 4, the community will be able to see the results of this activity at a ceremonial unveiling of “the New, One-of-a-Kind, Deluxe, Attached, Heated, Wheelchair-Accessible Restroom,” according to organizers. The restroom-greenroom structure is the centerpiece of a multi-faceted grant-funded project intended to make the antique Meeting House more usable by the community.

Other improvements to be celebrated include a parking area adjoining a wheelchair ramp which enters both buildings, an air-source heat pump heating and cooling system, a newly painted roof and a custom-made sign adorning the front of the Meeting House.

Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony, locally-renowned a cappella ensemble “Northfield” will perform in the acoustically excellent Meeting House. Northfield’s early music repertoire has been enjoyed by area audiences for over 30 years. Opening for Northfield will be The Hopeful Corvettes, re-uniting for this occasion to share their up-beat and energetic harmonies

Grants for the construction, including funds awarded by Maine Preservation, the Davis Family Foundation, the Narragansett One Foundation, and the Maine Community Foundation, have provided most of the project funding, at a value of roughly $30,000. Yet Board members emphasize that far more than half the value of the improvements has been in the infinite volunteer hours provided by the community and one Board member in particular.

“The skill and commitment of Rob Rogers, who acted as the master carpenter, was pivotal to this project,” said Carolyn Drugge, Board President; “However, we benefited from the generosity of countless other people as well–architectural services, custom carpentry, earth-moving, snow-plowing, suppliers’ discounts, watercolor art, photography, and lots of plain hard labor were all donated by community members. We hope for a big turn-out to help us celebrate this great effort.”

The 1851 Chesterville Center Union Meeting House has been operated by the current non-profit organization since the late 1990s. The group promotes use of the building as a community resource for concerts, readings, drama, civic gatherings, children’s programs, weddings, memorial services, or other community events. Last year’s programs included a Chesterville Poets’ reading, a War Memorial Veterans’ Appreciation ceremony, an Axe and Quilt show, and a concert, among other programs. This summer there are plans for a childrens’ summer reading program, a local art exhibit, and a performance by pantomime artist Michael Cooper.

The June 4 ceremony and concert will begin at 7 p.m. Donations will be welcomed, but admission is free to all. Refreshments will be served, and the newly-published Chesterville Poetry Night booklet will be on sale. For more information call 778-3513 or 778-3767. For more about the Meeting House, visit www.chestervillemeetinghouse.org.

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