Preservation Trust of Vermont
The Broad Brook Community Center in Guilford, Vermont, one of the recipients of the Bruhn Revitalization Grant.
Seven Communities Receive Support from the Bruhn Revitalization Grant
The Preservation Trust of Vermont is pleased to announce the recipients of the Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants. A total of $625,000 has been awarded to seven community projects in Calais, Enosburg Falls, Guilford, Poultney, Readsboro, Rupert and St. Johnsbury. The grants range from $50,000 to $100,000 and will be used toward structural repairs, roof replacement, window restoration, and fire safety improvements.
The Preservation Trust received 45 applications totaling over $3.5 million in requests. 

"We were very pleased to see so many great projects and we had to make difficult decisions in choosing from among the good applications submitted. Overall, the Preservation Trust chose projects that best met the goals of spurring new economic activity in village centers and downtowns and brought new life to under-utilized buildings. We also took geographic distribution into consideration and are excited to include two new nominations to the National Register of Historic Places,"  said Liz Gamache, Interim President of the Trust.
Historically, town centers and villages were at the center of community life. Today, the Preservation Trust of Vermont works with groups that are committed to continuing that tradition and are actively investing both time and money into restoring centrally located buildings such as granges, schools, downtown commercial buildings, churches, libraries and more.

The recipients of the Bruhn Historic Revitalization subgrants include:
  • The Broad Brook Community Center in Guilford, 
  • Memorial Hall in North Calais, 
  • Stone Valley Arts at Fox Hill in Poultney, 
  • The Sheldon Store Project in Rupert, 
  • The Opera House at Enosburg Falls, 
  • New Avenue in St. Johnsbury, and 
  • The EJ Bullock Block in Readsboro. 
(Scroll to the bottom of the newsletter to see pictures and read more!)

The historic uses of each of these properties contributed greatly to community life in rural Vermont. Through support from the National Park Service's Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant program, there is once again an opportunity to enrich the lives of community members and to preserve the historic uses as a gathering place and economic driver through restoration and adaptive reuse.
The Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant program is a $7.5 million federal grant program created by Senator Patrick Leahy aimed at supporting rural revitalization of historic properties of national, state and local significance in order to restore, protect and foster economic development in rural villages and downtown areas. 

"These inaugural awards are emblematic of the vision Paul and I shared for how the Bruhn grant program would support rural communities. The range and diversity of these buildings and their uses covers the board, but the common thread that links them together is their ability to serve as community gathering spaces. In supporting projects that will enhance the vibrancy of rural Vermont by bringing people together, we honor Paul's life work and are setting a strong foundation for the future of this program,"
said Leahy.
This project is supported through a grant from the Historic Revitalization Subgrant Program as administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.

Bruhn Revitalization Grant Awardees
Memorial Hall North Calais
Photo by Curtis Johnson
Memorial Hall, North Calais
The grant will support important structural work. Built in 1885,  Memorial Hall served as the centerpiece of social life for Calais and neighboring towns for generations. The Hall, the Veterans Monument, and its spectacular lake setting was an active venue for weddings, memorial services, community suppers, graduation parties, historical society meetings, and many other events.  The structural work will enable the community to re-open this important gathering place to the public and add an economic driver to this rural area.
Enosburg Falls Opera House
The Opera House at Enosburg Falls
The grant will support window and door restoration. The Opera House at Enosburg Falls is a unique multi-purpose venue and public resource for surrounding rural communities, and has been the site for countless public and private events throughout the past 127 years. Each year the Friends of the Opera House present nine months of varied programming, including but not limited to: community theatre productions, pageants, live music concerts, improv comedy, variety shows, themed parties, educational camps, wildlife encounters, adult arts education, craft fairs and athletic competitions.  The window and door restoration work will preserve its historic architecture, improve energy efficiency, allow for more community events, and improve community access to this historic local venue. It will also add to the economic activity of the area.

Broad Brook Community Center_ Guilford
Broad Brook Community Center, Guilford
The grant will support the installation of a sprinkler system.  The 1896 Broad Brook Community Center (BBCC) was built as Broad Brook Grange #151 and has always been an important community gathering place. It is likely the most loved building in town and its renovation by the BBCC is essential to preserving the rural, social and historic fabric of the community.  Upgrading the building's fire safety will foster economic development in all sectors of the project: kitchen upgrades will enable catered celebrations, small-scale farm-to-table food production for Guilford's farmers and CSAs, and educational offerings to benefit the town's economy. The protected performance space will create a safer venue for local musicians, dancers, performers, lecturers, instructors and others to offer their services.

Stone Valley Arts_ Poultney
Stone Valley Arts at Fox Hill, Poultney
The grant will support roof replacement. Stone Valley Arts aims to inspire community interest and participation in the arts by offering a wide variety of educational and cultural programs and events. Their goal is to serve all ages and all levels of experience. By integrating the arts into the fabric of the community, SVA can serve to enrich the quality of life in the region and add to the economic activity of the area.
Bullock Building_ Readsboro
E.J. Bullock Building, Readsboro
The grant will support roof restoration.  As the center piece of revitalization of the Designated Village Center and community, the Bullock Building is a growing hub of local activity including concerts, holiday events, even an annual Murder Mystery dinner theater. In addition to the security of a new roof, the completion of this project will inspire others to accept that improvements in small communities can help improve both local and regional growth.
Rupert Store and Cafe
The Sheldon Store Project, Rupert
The grant will support structural and roof repairs on the main building and porch.  The Sheldon Store has been a part of Rupert's community and history since it was first opened as the Farmers' Exchange and the Grange Hall in the late 1800's. The building is still intact and holds most of its original characteristics and fixtures. Bringing it back to life as a community center and cafĂ© will make it possible to showcase this history to the community and visitors alike, as well as add economic activity to an area currently without any stores or cafes.  
New Avenue, St. Johnsbury
The grant will support roof replacement.  New Avenue House is located in the heart of downtown St. Johnsbury. In its current condition, it is a barrier to the revitalization of the downtown.  Renovation of New Avenue will secure perpetually affordable housing and bolster the economic climate of downtown St. Johnsbury. The 9,000 square feet of prime commercial space will be renovated and occupied by new businesses, after being vacant for over 10 years. These new businesses will bring employees, customers, and pedestrians to the downtown. The $11M in construction work will bring over 150 construction jobs downtown; these workers will frequent the downtown restaurants and retailers, spinning off additional economic benefit.  Preserving the historic downtown district is vital to preserving the rich commercial history of downtown St. Johnsbury.
Preservation Trust of Vermont
104 Church Street
Burlington, VT  05401