“Giving is an important part of life. We are giving something really special to the town. This has been a lot of work, but people have stuck with it and we did what we had to do. I have a real feeling of fulfillment. I’ve gotten more out of this than I have out of any job.”
Apples. That’s what brought Rick Zamore to Vermont back in 1971. He stayed for six years, and then followed a career path of woods work, carpentry, working with the Student Conservation Association in Brazil and Mexico, and grant writing. He landed in Guilford in the early 1980s.
A remarkable thing about the Broad Brook Grange building is that it was built in only five months over the winter of 1896-97. Construction started in October and their first dance was held in April. More than a century later, Rick joined the Grange specifically so he could work on the building. A Vermont Council on Rural Development Community Visit in 2013-14 revealed that the renovation of the grange building was top on the list to make things better in town. Rick joined the effort:
“I would do anything for this building. It has been a kind of marriage for me. I want to see it full of activity, people enjoying the warm, well-lighted space that can accommodate all kinds of programs.”
Fortunate to have a high level of civic participation, the community formed a nonprofit, and the Broad Brook Community Center began to take shape. The two phase, $2.2 million project includes an entry ramp, fire escape, bathrooms, wiring, sprinkler system, septic system, a new well, underground storage tanks, insulation, wiring, a new basement and more. With gratitude for the support of the Preservation Trust’s technical assistance program and the Bruhn Revitalization Grant, plus the hard work of the board of trustees, architect, civil engineer and contractors, Rick remarks, “It is well worth the effort. We are setting the building up for the next 100 years.”
The organization owns the building and will partner with other groups so they can do their programming there. Here the town will hold elections and the library will host its summer camp. Guilford Cares has been holding a food pantry here, and senior activities are on the horizon. When the renovations are complete this fall, Rick sees concerts, classes, special events, performances, and more.
“This is what the town wanted for itself more than anything. It’s happening. It’s very exciting.”