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Broad Brook Community Center, Guilford, VT: 2024 Preservation Award

For more than a century, the 1896 Broad Brook Grange had been the center of activity in Guilford, providing a meeting place for the discussion of agricultural issues, performances, town meetings, community suppers and more. When the Vermont Council on Rural Development did a community visit in 2011, the community identified renovations to the grange hall as the top way to improve amenities for its residents. From this meeting, the Broad Brook Community Center Inc. was born. In 2018, they purchased the building from the Grange.

Faced with an old, inaccessible, uninsulated building, the Community Center board had their work cut out for them. They eagerly (and successfully) applied for grants from a multitude of sources, and garnered private contributions both large and small. Amazingly, more than one third of the households in Guilford donated to the project, demonstrating its deep importance to the town.

Still, the planning, post-pandemic construction cost increases, and the surprising discovery of a well in the old crawl space (and the emergency archeological assessment it demanded)  resulted in a $2.3 million project. The Broad Brook Community Center continued on, raising the funds needed to get the job done.

The preservation work included restoring walls, windows, trim and finishes inside and out. Today, the historic building looks almost exactly as it did before the renovation, but now houses updated modern systems: a sprinkler system, a new septic system, new wiring and lighting, an elevator and entry ramp, new bathrooms, a fully functional kitchen, and a full basement. 

Accessible and insulated, the building is now used year-round at a reasonable cost for community suppers, theatrical plays, a weekly food bank and a wholesale food hub, activities for seniors, art shows, and summer camps sponsored by the library. The building is available for rent for public and private events, with a sliding scale for local nonprofits.

Thanks to the sustained effort and teamwork of the board of the Broad Brook Community Center, Guilford once again has a hub where people come together to learn, have fun, enjoy culture, and engage in civic life – a place that will be standing for at least another century.

Preservation Award to: 

Broad Brook Community Center, Inc.
Stevens & Associates, P.C.
Mathes Hulme Builders

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