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Halifax Community Hall needs urgent roof repairs

Community Club asks Selectboard for help, appeals for new members

HALIFAX—The Halifax Community Hall is need of major repairs, and the Community Club that takes care of it could use a few more members.

That’s what Joan Courser told the Selectboard at its Aug. 7 meeting.

In a letter to the board, Courser wrote that the roof of the historic 1844 building is leaking, and water is coming down onto the ceiling and the walls.

While Courser believes the club can get away with fixing half of the roof now and the other half next year, the half that needs repairs should be fixed soon.

Fixing the worst half of the roof would cost about $4,200.

“We don’t have the funds to do it, and it really has to be done by winter,” she said last week.

The club has gone before Town Meeting voters in the past for funding, but Courser said the repairs can’t wait until March.

The Community Club doesn’t have the money to fix the roof, mainly because membership has dwindled from about 60 members in the 1980s to only four current working members today.

“The membership has declined dramatically, and the younger generation doesn’t seem to want to step forward,” Courser said.

She remembers when she moved into Halifax in 1977, the club was going through the same problem of attracting new members.

“It came close to disbanding then, and the younger people like me who were in town joined and kept it going,” Courser remembered. “The hall was barely usable, and it took a good many years and a good amount of work to get it back into shape.”

For years, Courser said the club raised money to fix up the hall by holding suppers, breakfasts, and an annual Christmas bazaar. However, patronage at these events has also declined to the point where it was costing the club money to put them on.

“It’s been that way for the last few years,” she said.

She said the club has had to dig deep into its savings to come up with the $3,000 per year to pay for heat, utilities, and general upkeep of the hall. What income the club generates now comes from renting the hall to Senior Solutions (formerly the Council on Aging) for a monthly senior meal, and to any other group or activity looking for space for an event.

Courser said she feels uncomfortable asking the Selectboard for emergency funds, but she wants to make sure that nothing happens to the hall.

“So many people put their blood, sweat, and tears into this building,” she said. “It really is a focal point for our village, and we hope it can stay that way.”

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Originally published in The Commons issue #166 (Wednesday, August 22, 2012).

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