$38K for church windows tops Whately special Town Meeting warrant

  • An article on the Nov. 29 Special Town Meeting warrant seeks to appropriate $38,000 from Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding to restore windows at the Whately First Congregational Church. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • The First Congregational Church on Chestnut Plain Road in Whately. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • An article on the Nov. 29 Special Town Meeting warrant seeks to appropriate $38,000 from Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding to restore windows at the Whately First Congregational Church. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • An article on the Nov. 29 Special Town Meeting warrant seeks to appropriate $38,000 from Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding to restore windows at the Whately First Congregational Church. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 11/22/2022 7:43:40 PM
Modified: 11/22/2022 7:43:29 PM

WHATELY — At a seven-article special Town Meeting that Town Administrator Brian Domina described as mostly housekeeping, residents will have the chance to approve funding for First Congregational Church window restorations and create two special stabilization funds.

Special Town Meeting will be held Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 7:30 p.m. at the Town Offices, 4 Sandy Lane. Of the seven articles, the one likely to generate the most discussion is Article 1, which seeks to appropriate $38,000 from Community Preservation Act funding to restore windows at the First Congregational Church.

Judy Markland, chair of the church’s Building Committee, said the church applied for CPA funding because the nearly $40,000 price tag would be a “heavy lift” for the church, and while it isn’t a town building, the church is part of the town’s history and continues to host many community events alongside its religious services. She added the church has been aware of the windows’ deteriorating condition for about five or six years.

“We think it’s an important historical building and the church is part of the community,” Markland said. “We’re proud of this building and I think the town is proud.”

If approved, the funding will be used to restore 10 “large triple-sash windows in the church, including replacing the existing single-pane glass with double-pane glass while preserving the existing original frames,” according to the CPA application submitted to the town.

Markland said the windows are in poor shape and they’ve dealt with “whole panes of glass” falling out. The frames, however, are in good shape. If approved, the church will work with Pisgah Window Solutions to restore the windows, which will include insulated glass and reworked balance systems.

Markland said she is unaware of any recent window restorations at the church, which was built in 1843. The windows, according to the CPA application, date to at least the late 19th century.

Beyond maintaining a historical building, the new windows will also reduce energy costs by approximately $15,000 a year, according to Markland.

The two other major articles, 6 and 7, focus on creating special stabilization funds for the opioid settlement money coming to Whately and for marijuana community impact fees. Typically, Domina explained, any municipal revenue is placed into the general fund and these two funds are being created because the opioid settlement and community impact fee revenue can be used only for specific purposes.

“It’s a mechanism we can use to keep that money separate,” Domina said. “If we mix those with the general fund, it can be a headache.”

Articles 2 and 3 seek to appropriate $1,391 and $3,464 for S. White Dickinson Memorial Library’s additional operating costs and accessibility improvements, respectively. Article 4 seeks to raise the fee for opening graves for casket burials from $650 to $750, and Article 5 seeks to transfer $7,869 to help pay for a new hybrid cruiser for the Whately Police Department.

To view the full warrant, visit bit.ly/3EII5s5.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.
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