Two springs ago, a group of people in Dunbarton set out to raise $4,500 to match a grant of that same amount that they had received from the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance. The purpose was to restore the old town hall. They raised $12,000.
“What an example of how a small community can come together and be so supportive of something they believe in,” Tiffany Dodd, chairman of the Dunbarton Town Hall & Theater Restoration Project committee, said at the time. Two years later, they continue to move forward.
The first phase of the project began in 2009, the building’s centennial. The committee raised money to hire a consultant, plan the restoration project, and raised cash for the extensive work, which includes an elevator, a new staircase, a sprinkler system and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance for the building.
With about $100,000 in cash now, the committee is moving into phase 2: doing the work. That is a huge accomplishment in its own right. Too often great old buildings in small New Hampshire towns, even community buildings like meeting houses and town halls, are torn down after years of neglect. People usually assume someone else will take care of community projects. Changing that attitude takes leadership and organization. It is nice to see that Dunbarton has had effective examples of both. May they inspire others to similar action.