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Historic Town Hall project celebrates $165,000 grant


November 19, 2020
EFFINGHAM — The Board of Directors of the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) has announced $4.1 million in matching grants awarded to thirty-two projects across the state, including the Historic Town Hall Project in Center Effingham (current Effingham Public Library).

The Town of Effingham in partnership with the Effingham Preservation Society, has received a $165,000 grant award to support the repair, restoration and rehabilitation of the iconic 1858 post & beam New England Masonic Charitable Institute building with its six-story bell tower and cupola.

"On behalf of the Town of Effingham and historic-minded preservationists everywhere, we thank LCHIP for its investment in the preservation of the Historic Town Hall." said Chuck Fuller, Lead Project Sponsor. "This will help preserve a significant piece of local history, improve building access and community meeting space, in a more energy efficient building."

The HTH Project work will be completed in phases, following US Secretary of Interior Standards for Rehabilitation. Concentration will be on work to stop ongoing structural damage and improve usability of the building for the public library and the community. Work will provide environmental and structural stabilization of the 162-year-old building and will remove barriers to equality in the community by creating handicap-accessibility to the first and second floors.

LCHIP funds will support projects in nine of the state's ten counties. This grant round was highly competitive, with nearly $8 million in funding requests compared to $4.1 million available for grants. LCHIP Board of Directors Chair Amanda Merrill of Durham observed that "With the large number and high quality of applications that where submitted this year, the board had the satisfaction of awarding grants to a variety of wonderful projects-- and the regret of being unable to support many others. It is clear to me that the work of LCHIP is more important than ever." Grant recipients are required to raise a minimum of one dollar for each dollar provided by LCHIP. This year's awards of $4.1 million will be matched by nearly $18 million that the project proponents will raise from other public and private sources, infusing a total of over $22 million into the state's economy in direct project activity.

About Historic Town Hall Project

The 1858 building has many Italianate style architectural details to be restored and painted, including the elaborately ornamented belfry. In the mid-1800's, the building served as the NE Masonic Charitable Institute, the only private school in America known to be run by the Masons. One of the unique characteristics to be restored is the large proscenium behind the Library circulation desk where there was a single step stage; this will be renovated and incorporated into the new space plan. Other work in this phase includes rehabilitation of the 6' tall windows and replacement of historically accurate shutters, as well as insulation, electrical and HVAC system upgrades. For more information, please visit HistoricEffingham.org

About New Hampshire's Land and Community Heritage Investment Program

The New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program is an independent state authority created by the legislature in 2000. LCHIP's legislative mandate is to ensure the perpetual contribution of natural, cultural and historic resources to the economy, environment, and quality of life in New Hampshire. LCHIP does this by providing matching grants to New Hampshire communities and non-profits to conserve and preserve the state's most important natural, cultural and historic resources. The program has provided 499 grants which have helped to conserve approximately 294,000 acres of land for food production, water quality, ecological values, timber management and recreation and supported 301 projects to rehabilitate 286 historic structures and sites. Grants have been awarded in all parts of the state and in 176 of New Hampshire's 234 communities. Fifty million dollars of state money have led to a total project value of more than $289 million. The money for LCHIP grants comes from fees on four documents recorded at the Registry of Deeds in every county of the state.

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