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Derry's Upper Village Hall work nearing completion

DERRY — Councilors at their Tuesday night meeting said they were impressed after hearing about the progress toward restoring historic Upper Village Hall.

During the meeting, the council received an update on the status of the project from Paul Dionne, president of the East Derry Village Improvement Society. Dionne told councilors the organization had invested a tremendous amount of “sweat equity” in the mult-year effort.

Councilor Thomas Cardon said after the meeting that he was amazed at what he saw after recently visiting the hall. He also praised the efforts of fellow Councilor Brad Benson and his family.

“I was blown away when I went in there,” said Cardon who is the board’s liaison to the Energy and Environmental Advisory Committee. “They have a state of the art air conditioning system that takes care of the entire building. They’ve got blown-in insulation throughout and nice and tight. They deserve a lot of credit on it. I know the Benson family put a lot of money into it.”

Cardon said he was so impressed by what he saw that he wants for the energy committee to develop a television show focusing on the hall.

Constructed in 1875, the building has served many functions within the community. It was home to Nutfield Grange, housed the Taylor library from 1878 to 1930 and served as the East Derry Fire Station from 1934 to 1979. It also served as the town’s first jail.Dionne said the walls of the former jail still bear the written musings of some of the prisoners who spent time in the facility.

After serving so many uses for the town through the years, the building began to show its age and deteriorate. The hall faced the possibility of demolition when the East Derry Village Improvement Society intervened in 2009 and took over ownership of the property from the town.

Over last several years, the hall has been undergoing renovation with the help of many volunteers and donations from the community.All of the electrical, plumbing and heating work is complete, according to a report on Upper Village Hall that was distributed at Tuesday Night’s Town Council meeting.

Some alarm work and exterior painting, which began on Monday, is all that remains to be done, Dionne said in the meeting.

Simpson’s Painting Inc. of Derry will began painting the front and right exterior wall, the most visible sections, first, Dionne said. The goal is to get all of the painting completed this fall.


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