Building a Reputation

ReSOURCE’s restoration of its 1898 Barre granite shed

by Virginia Lindauer Simmon

OldPhotoHistoric shot of the 13,000-square-foot, 1898 Beck & Beck Granite Co. building in Barre.

Back in 2008, Tom Longstreth and the folks at Recycle North in Burlington (now known as ReSOURCE), were asked to go down to Barre and give a hand to a sister nonprofit called ReSTORE, whose roof had collapsed.

“They were 20 years old — started at the same time as Recycle North,” said Tom Longstreth, executive director at ReSOURCE, in an interview for Business People-Vermont’s feature story on him last year (www.BusinessPeopleVermont.com/2013/resource0513.html). “I approached them thinking our YouthBuild crew could go and help rebuild the roof.”

PouringflA new concrete floor was poured over the building’s radiant heat plumbing. YouthBuild students insulated the floor and installed the radiant heating system. “We teach our students obvious construction skills, but try to do them in an environmental way,” says Curtis Ostler, development director.

But ReSTORE had a bigger involvement in mind, says Curtis Ostler, development director at ReSOURCE. “They said, ‘Can you take this on? We can’t do it any more.’ We thought this was a great opportunity.”

Opportunity it was. Recycle North had been wanting to find a way to extend its services into central Vermont. A memo of understanding was created and the two organizations joined forces. The ReSTORE board joined Recycle North’s board, and Recycle North hired some of ReSTORE’s staff.

YouthBuilReSOURCE’s YouthBuild crew members worked outside in good weather. About 32 YouthBuild students a year — 20 in Burlington and 12 in Barre — go through the program. “We use them for as much of the construction as we can,” says Ostler. “Any student who started on the Barre project has, hopefully, moved on — graduated and obtained a job elsewhere.”

That merger was the spark for the purchase and rehabilitation of a 13,000-square-foot, 1898 former Beck & Beck Granite Co. shed at 30 Granite St. in Barre. Largely abandoned when it was bought in 2009, it was being used to store, of all things, imported Chinese headstones.

NewinteriThis view of the new interior shows the shelves, all of which are on wheels so they can be moved aside in about a half hour when the space is needed for performances. The giant 22-foot I-beams (the black one in the near background and orange in the back) were part of an original crane set on tracks that could pick up a 5-ton block of granite and carry it to the far end. The old wooden tracks were left, but are not in use. The new stage will hang from these beams, and will be raised and lowered by a chain hoist. Clerestory windows in the original building had been covered on the outside with vinyl in order to prevent damage from rocks. Here, they are being opened up and restored.

“We took over for the ReSTORE in late 2008,” says Ostler, “with an agreement from the owners to use the building until a purchase was finalized. We began receiving and selling goods right away, using the building in the rear, which is now the YouthBuild classroom and offices. We even incurred the cost for asbestos abatement in the summer of 2009 before an agreement was reached.” The purchase was completed in October of that year.

MayorprocOn April 3, Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon joined YouthBuild staff and students to proclaim National YouthBuild Day. Present were staffers Andrew Jope, Emily MacFadyen, and Josh Fairchild; student Andrew Rinker; staffers Jesse Greig and Edgar Mesquita; student Andy Smith; Mayor Lauzon; students Dylan Dukett, Anton Porter-Govea, Nick Voitle (top of head), Brawnson Lewis, Alan Felion, Joey Payette, and Saul Quittner; and staffer Jason Monaco.

YouthBuilReSOURCE’s YouthBuild crew members worked outside in good weather. About 32 YouthBuild students a year — 20 in Burlington and 12 in Barre — go through the program. “We use them for as much of the construction as we can,” says Ostler. “Any student who started on the Barre project has, hopefully, moved on — graduated and obtained a job elsewhere.”

Next month, on June 21, ReSOURCE will celebrate the closing of its $1.7 million capital campaign to fund the restoration. The expectation is that the shed will serve as a hub of social enterprise activities, to include a learning site for at-risk youths and unemployed workers, a new performance space for concerts featuring local artists, a space for artists and educators focusing on reusing materials, and a store offering families in crisis access to basic household goods and services.

Meanwhile, the ReSTORE name has been picked up by Habitat for Humanity for its outlet in Williston. “When they came in, they asked, and we agreed to let them have it. It was amicable.” •