Vote YES on the Referendum Articles to Support Starling Hall
Dear Friends and Neighbors:
In 1986 the Town accepted ownership of Starling Hall. In 2006 the fire marshal’s office documented several pages of code violations to be addressed before the building could be used for future public meetings.
Since 2014, the Friends of Starling Hall (FOSH) have worked continuously on behalf of the Town, to maintain the building and bring it into conformance with building, life safety and ADA codes. FOSH has received numerous small grants, business support and private donations to defray costs. It has promised, and is repaying, principal and interest payments on a $100,000 bond issued by the Town.
FOSH is now working to secure Congressional representative support for a grant of up to $500,000 to ensure major upgrades to the building can be completed, and possibly complete all work required to make the three floors usable/accessible for Town and public activities. Eligibility for such grants requires the Town to raise a dollar match for every dollar of grant funds received.
The $8,000 requested is essential for installing fire detection and alarm systems, emergency lighting and exit lights. The fire marshal’s office required these needs to be addressed before the building could be used for Town meetings.
Starling Hall is the first building in the State known to be constructed specifically as a Grange Hall. For over 100 years the Grange allowed the Town to have free use of the building for Town meetings, school plays and graduations. Members of the community were allowed to use it for dances theater, 4H and boy scout meetings at no charge or very little cost.
On November 8th, please consider your vote carefully. If you believe in preserving this historic building for use as a Community Center, please vote in favor of these articles. A no vote will kill any chances of getting the earmark funds being sponsored by Senator Collins. It will also endanger the chances of getting any other grants due to the lack of community support.
Please vote yes on the referendum articles supporting Starling Hall!
Joseph Young, President
Friends of Starling Hall
ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT STARLING HALL
Who owns Starling Hall?
The Town of Fayette owns the building.
Is it true the Town can’t sell the hall?
The building could be sold but the deed has a clause in it that requires the owner to make it available to the Grange if a new chapter is ever established In the community.
Must the Town comply with state and federal codes when other old structures are open to the public and don’t meet code?
Because Starling Hall is a Town owned structure and used for public purposes it must conform with building, life safety and Americans with Disabilities Act codes and requirements.
What will the $8,000 be used for?
It will be used to reconnect and add to the fire alarms and sensors, exit lights, emergency lighting in case of power failure, connection to a security service to monitor the emergency systems and dispatch fire department response.
What will the building be used for when it is renovated?
The FOSH goal has been to make it usable as a Community Center for the Town.
How much more work needs to be done?
Some of the work remaining incudes structural repair to or replacement of the roof, 1st floor ADA compliance including bathrooms, 2nd floor Exit stair and elevator addition, window replacement, fire suppression system, new windows, siding and trim. These are just some of the know needs.
How much will it cost?
An updated final cost for all necessary improvements has not been determined. Seven years ago an initial estimate was over $600,000. Many of the improvements FOSH have made were not included in that estimate so it is expected that the cost in today’s dollars has increased substantially.
Didn’t the town bond $100,000 to support renovations?
Yes, it did and FOSH agreed to pay the principal and interest on the bond. The final bond payment will be made in November of 2029.
Are grants available to help pay for the renovations?
FOSH has been successful in getting many small grants to help with projects initiated to improve the building.
The latest grant that FOSH may receive is for up to $500,000 as part of the Congressional Earmark program.
What is the Earmark program?
Each of our Maine U.S. Senators and Representatives get to designate projects for funding as part of the next year’s federal budget. These ‘earmarks’ are tied to existing Federal grant programs and must be approved as part of the Federal budget.
How did FOSH get approved for an earmark?
Last winter FOSH applied for an earmark through Senator King, Senator Collins and Representative Golden. All three expressed support of the project and both Senators included Starling Hall renovation on their list of projects. Senator Collins specifically included it in her budget as one of her projects. The source of funding would be the National Trust Preservation Funds.
How long will it take to get funding?
There are several milestones that must be met before we can receive funding. National Trust Preservation Fund grants require the recipient community to match one dollar for every dollar of grant funds. Congressional approval of the budget, and an application for funding made to the National Trust Preservation Funds are just two of the milestones. It could take a year or more to get everything in place to receive funds.
Where will Fayette’s portion of the $500,000 matching funds come from?
The Town is being asked to approve bonding for up to $500,000 in a referendum question on the November ballot. FOSH will continue to seek additional sources of funding.
How will the $500,000 bond impact my taxes?
Debt service is estimated to be about $30,000/year. The chart below shows approximate impact on properties.
Isn’t FOSH supposed to pay for all the work?
FOSH volunteered to pay the interest and capital payments on the $100,000 bond issued by the town. It did not volunteer to pay for all the costs of renovating Starling Hall.
What is FOSH doing with the money raised from fundraising?
Money raised by FOSH through donations, grants and other fund-raising activities reduces the amount needed from the Town. So far it has:
- Moved the building away from road and onto a full foundation;
- Installed steel structural reinforcement to stabilize the building;
- Built a new front entrance;
- Installed underground power and a 200 AMP entrance;
- Drilled a new deep well and pump;
- Installed a new gas heating and air conditioning system;
- Installed new kitchen appliances.
Executive Committee & Board Members
- Joseph Young, President
- Donna Barrett, Vice President
- Joy Beekman, Secretary
- Mike Carlson, CPA, Treasurer
- Donna Barrett
- Lori Beaulieu
- Joy Beekman
- Michael Carlson
- Al Godfrey
- Brian Holman
- Elaine Wilcox
- Joseph Young