Franklin Church and Wilmot Town Hall among LCHIP Matching Grant Recipients


Published: 12/19/2021 2:00:20 PM

Modified: 12/19/2021 14:00:05

Two projects in the Concord area will receive funding from the state’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) as part of $ 4.7 million in matching grants for 40 historic preservation and land conservation in the ‘State.

The Franklin Congregational Christian Church received a grant of $ 35,000 to support the restoration of the steeple.

“With more than 100 years of weathering since the steeple was rebuilt after the 1902 fire, it is time for major repairs to the steeple and the installation of lightning protection to ensure the future of the building, ”said Glenn Morrill, chair of the church trustees.

The building was constructed in 1820 as a meeting place. It was organized as a village church in 1822, then as a congregational church and, since 1964, as a congregational-Christian church. It is the oldest church in Franklin.

Daniel Webster rented bench # 23. A belfry window is dedicated to him and a bust of Webster, sculpted by Daniel Chester French, stands in front of the church. A Revere bell was brought from Boston by oxen when the steeple was added in 1838; it is still used today.

In Wilmot, a grant of $ 305,303 will support the renovation of Wilmot Town Hall, a former Barn building whose floor structure has been damaged by recurring flooding from Kimpton Creek.

“The LCHIP award will allow the city to protect the building from future flood damage, which may become more likely as the regional climate continues to change,” said Jeff Gill, chairman of the Wilmot Facilities Committee, a group named by the Wilmot Select Board to make financial recommendations for city-owned properties.

Wilmot Town Hall has experienced extensive flooding since its construction in 1911, with water from Kimpton Creek reaching the floor joists of the building, causing the floor support system to rot. In 1938, the flood waters rose above the incoming ground level.

A vote at the 2021 town hall meeting authorized the facilities committee to apply to LCHIP for a grant to raise the building 2.02 feet, which exceeds the flood level of 500 years and matches the elevation of the adjacent library. With this grant in hand, city residents will vote on the final scope and authorize the release of funds from the Buildings and Facilities Reserve Fund at the city’s March 2022 business meeting.

In Belmont, $ 369,000 was awarded to help with the redevelopment of the 1894 Gale School, a building that was moved to a new location in 2020 with help from an earlier LCHIP grant.

This year’s LCHIP funds support projects in all 10 counties across the state. The natural resource projects funded under this round of grants include land to help meet the increased interest in outdoor recreation activities, farmland to provide local foods to local people , lands with scenic and environmental values ​​and active forests.

Historic Resource Grants range from projects as simple as a new roof to rehabilitation as complex as virtually any elaborate building. The oldest subsidized building is Salem Town Hall, which dates back to 1738 and is now the headquarters of the historic society.

Recipients of LCHIP grants are required to raise a minimum of one dollar for every dollar provided by LCHIP.


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