Roy Townsend, representing the Grand Meadow Heritage Center, appeared before the supervisors on Tuesday to explain renovation projects of both a one room schoolhouse and two-room schoolhouse subsequently converted to a teacherage (residence for teachers).
The renovation work had been done primarily funded through a Historic Resource Development Program grant. The county had also provided $5,000 for the project, to come out of the rural betterment fund. The county sets aside 25 percent of the county's share of the Cherokee County one-cent local option sales tax for this fund. The remaining 75 percent is designated for property tax relief.
Townsend noted that costs have risen dramatically since the renovation project was first undertaken. When the first phase of the project of renovating the one-room schoolhouse was done last year, the cedar shingles for the roof were $160 a square (a bundle). This increased to over $250 a square for the two-room schoolhouse this summer.
There was also more labor cost than originally anticipated. Installing cedar shingles is labor intensive and there wasn't the volunteer labor available for the higher-off-the --ground two-story roofing project as there was for the first roofing project.
The roofing with cedar shingles was done to preserve the historic quality of the buildings, which is important for potential future grant opportunities.
Although using cedar shingles is expensive both as a result of material cost and labor, the material is durable with a life expectancy of about 60 years.
Townsend requested another $5,000 from the county. He said this would put the Heritage Center in a more comfortable situation prior to the upcoming Annual Grand Meadow Heritage Festival on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 8 and 9. (More on the upcoming event in a later edition).
Townsend's request was approved with little discussion, the supervisors commenting that this is the kind of project that the rural betterment fund was intended to support.