By ALVIN REINER
---- — WESTPORT — A capital campaign entitled “Raising the Roof” is underway to raise $35,000 to replace the slate roof on the Heritage House Visitors Center.
“We’d best do it now and not wait until winter,” said Jack Buttimer, who chairs the building and grounds committee.
The intention is to replace the roof with slate in keeping with the original architectural design of the structure.
“There are many current residents in their 70s and 80s for whom going to this building when it was (the Federate Church) rings a bell,” he said.
“We plan on replacing the roof in its entirety rather than piecemeal to ensure that we won’t have to do repairs again in a few years. This is a huge undertaking for us as a committee, as we don’t have a huge influx of cash.
“We have never tried anything like this. In the past, the community and town have been very supportive.”
“Some of the slate pieces have been slipping off (the roof) over the past few years, and the nails have become rusted, so to get it all done now is our goal,” Heritage House Director Nancy Decker said.
“I want to inform donors that the money they contribute is tax-deductible.”
The slate tiles will be completely replaced, and the proposed contractor may purchase the old ones. There is also the possibility of decorating individual tiles with a Heritage House design and selling them.
Generally, slate roofs have a 50 to 100 year life expectancy.
The timeline for the six-week project is to have the necessary funding by the middle of August and commence around Sept. 1.
Other future ideas for Heritage House include re-configuring the display area and adding better lighting to accommodate art shows.
Decker feels that eventually removing the aluminum siding would put the façade more in line with the architectural integrity of the town.
In addition to providing visitors information and allowing them to view historical displays, Heritage House offers a variety of activities that include Zumba and yoga, provides for office spaces, a performance venue and area for meetings and art shows such as Spirit of Place Plein Air, which features artwork created outdoors in the Westport area.
Heritage House is staffed by volunteers. It is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays and Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 3 p.m. Sundays through July and August. It is then open weekends Labor Day through Columbus Day.
Learn more about the Raise the Roof campaign by calling Decker at 962-4805 or go to westportheritagehouse.com.
Email Alvin Reiner at: firstname.lastname@example.org.