Local Projects Receive Heritage Grants

Sunday, December 14, 2014
Conservation and preservation projects in Cornish, Sunapee and Haverhill are among 36 throughout New Hampshire that will receive grants from the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program this year.

The program provides matching grants to protect and preserve the state’s most important natural, cultural and historic resources, LCHIP said in a recent news release.

This year’s recipients include 26 historic properties constructed between 1764 and 1918, and 10 natural resource projects that will permanently protect almost 3,000 acres.

In Cornish, $54,100 awarded to the Cornish Meetinghouse Trustees will help support the first phase of a restoration project.

The 1803 Federal-style building on Route 120 is home to the weekly farmer’s market, the town Memorial Day service and other local events.

The project will include repairs to rotting and decaying clapboards, as well as work on the slate roof, which is at least 159 years old.

“We just want to get that ready for this century and make sure it’s good and tight,” Caroline Storrs, chairwoman of the Meetinghouse Trustees, said in an interview.

The Upper Valley Land Trust has been awarded $50,000 toward a conservation easement on 170 acres of farmland in Cornish.

Originally called King’s Grant Farm, the property on the Connecticut River is part of Edgewater Farm, Peg Merrens, the land trust’s vice president of conservation , said in an interview.

In Sunapee, a $70,000 grant to Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust will support the purchase of 149 acres in the Wendell Marsh area.

The land, referred to as Wendell Marsh South, is visible from Route 11. It includes hiking and snowmobile trails and is considered an important feeding ground for bald eagles, Deborah Stanley, the trust’s executive director, said last week . The town of Sunapee will hold the title to the property and grant the trust a conservation easement on the land, which borders another conserved area known as Wendell Marsh North. The project is a partnership with the Sunapee Conservation Commission.

The Haverhill Historical Society was awarded $8,700 toward its ongoing work to preserve and restore Pearson Hall, a 198-year-old Federal-style building on the green in Haverhill Corner.

The historical society is putting its heart and soul into “truly preserving the building and maintaining the historical aspects” of the hall, Wayne Fortier, president, said in an interview.

The work is turning out to be more complex than he had initially imagined, and the historical society is working with engineers to determine how to “bring the building up to safety standards and still maintain its historical value.”

The grant will help pay for an engineering assessment of the hall, which was built in 1816 to house Haverhill Academy and the Grafton County Court .

In a recent ceremony in Concord, Gov. Maggie Hassan said she and legislature had agreed to include full funding for LCHIP in the fiscal year 2014-2015 budget.

“Boy, am I glad we did,” Hassan said. “Protecting the important natural, historic resources that you do with help from LCHIP benefits our environment, economy and quality of life.”

It is just the second time since its creation in 2000 that the program has been fully funded. Even so, the need for help exceeded the money available, said LCHIP, which was unable to fund 17 projects this year.

The grants, awarded to local governments and nonprofits, are funded by fees for recording certain documents at county registries of deeds. Applicants are required to raise $1 for each dollar received through the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, but they usually raise more — about $7 for each grant dollar, LCHIP said.

Aimee Caruso can be reached at acaruso@vnews.com or 603-727-3210.