The Bowdoinham Town Hall Restoration Committee plans to organize fundraising activities to help fund a town hall restoration project.

Built in 1823, the town hall will turn 200 years old in 2023. It was renovated only once in the past 30 years, and there has not been a lot done since then to the building.

“Back then, the committee members replaced the steeple that was in bad shape,” said Town Hall Restoration Committee Vice-Chair Betsy Steen. “They hired someone who took the steeple down, copied it exactly, and put the new copy, so that is in good shape, but there has not been a lot done since then. It is time to go ahead and do it.”

The committee is charged with restoring and preserving the town hall.

“We would love to have the town hall in good shape by 2023,” said Steen. “We are raising money in a bunch of different ways. We have just started so we will undoubtedly have other ways too.”

While the building is not dilapidated or structurally unsafe to use, Steen said that a couple of things need repair works and paint jobs.

As part of the restoration work, the committee is getting the hall’s metal roof inspected, interiors painted and planning to replace the current heating system and improve the acoustics in the room.

“The roof may just need repainting, but it also needs to be looked at in terms of how long it is going to last,” said Steen. “It needs paint and some structural work underneath. Moreover, the hall has poor acoustics, so we would like to do something to fix that.”

While the committee hopes to complete the restoration work by 2023, Steen said it might take a little longer.

“We will do as best as we can,” added Steen. “The town is also hoping to do a lot of work on the Coombs Municipal Building, and if that comes to pass, that building needs to be vacated for approximately a year, and the town officials might want to use the town hall for that period,” said Steen.

Steen, however, said they do not know how that is going to work.

“I am afraid it is always going to be an ongoing thing. We could get a good start by then,” said Steen. “We are still in the exploration stages. We are hoping that maybe we could have some volunteer work in things like painting.”

The committee members are currently making Christmas cards and calendars using the images from the Bowdoinham historic quilt made earlier this year. The cards and calendars will be for sale, and the proceeds will go to the town hall fund.

In addition, the Bowdoinham Historical Society will be matching the first $5,000 of donations that people give.

“These are the few things we have planned so far for the fundraising activities. We have other ideas, but we have not come to completion yet,” added Steen.

While the renovation cost is not determined yet, Steen said they hope to employ locals.

“What I am hoping is because we are doing it as a committee, we can employ local people, especially for painting and scraping things which volunteers can do,” said Steen. “This town has always looked to its volunteers to help with projects, so I think we can do that.”

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