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Broad Brook Community Center nears goal with revitalization grant

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GUILFORD—The Broad Brook Community Center says it is taking big strides toward the finish line of its capital campaign.

Since starting fundraising in 2016, the BBCC board says it has raised more than $1 million from foundations, state and federal grant and tax credit programs, and individuals to renovate Guilford’s historic grange hall and operate it as Guilford’s community center for this and future generations.

Now Broad Brook Community Center says it is getting even closer to its $1.35 million goal with the recent news that it is one of seven organizations in the state chosen to receive a Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant.

This award from the Preservation Trust of Vermont is named after the late and beloved executive director of the Preservation Trust, Paul Bruhn, who died last fall and was an early and staunch supporter of the Broad Brook Community Center project.

The Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant program is a $7.5 million federal grant program created by U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. It is aimed at supporting rural revitalization of historic properties of national, state, and local significance in order to restore, protect, and foster economic development in rural villages and downtown areas.

This project is supported through a grant from the Historic Revitalization Subgrant Program as administered by the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

According to a news release, the $100,000 that has been awarded to Broad Brook Community Center is earmarked for the new sprinkler system, one of the major improvements planned for the second phase of renovations to the nearly 125-year-old grange building. This renovation holds the key to the building’s longevity and sustainability.

Besides a new sprinkler system, Phase 2 will include a lift to the second floor auditorium, a heating and cooling system to accommodate year-round use, preservation and weatherization of the historic windows, a code-compliant septic system, a more functional community kitchen, a basement, and beautification inside and out.

The BBCC had a busy 2019 season operating the building with its first phase of improvements in place, which include a new ramp and entryway to meet ADA requirements, new accessible bathrooms, and fire-safety and kitchen upgrades.

Events in 2019 included regular activities from the BBCC partners — the town of Guilford, Broad Brook Grange, and Guilford Cares — including community dinners, wellness classes, civic gatherings, theater performances, and a weekly food pantry.

Additionally, the BBCC Board offered a number of free rental days throughout the year to encourage community gatherings. In 2019, various Guilford residents took advantage of these Community Days to organize free events that brought people of all ages together at the Center. These included skill-sharing workshops, a harvest swap and contra dance, and community cooking.

The year also saw some changes to the board. They recently said goodbye to Gabby Ciuffreda, and welcomed two new members — Tosha Tillman and Diane Murphy.

Tillman hails from Virginia and brings with her a breadth of educational and arts leadership. Murphy is a longtime Guilford resident and recently retired from a career with The Richards Group.

The BBCC looks forward to continuing to host its partners and offer rentals in 2020. Community Days will also be available in 2020 — the first on Feb. 2. Contact if you are interested in organizing a Community Day, rental, or with any other inquiries.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #543 (Wednesday, January 8, 2020). This story appeared on page A3.

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