July 2, 2022

Emergency Repairs at Chester Meeting House Expected to Cost About $5,000

CHESTER— The emergency fire code repairs that allowed the reopening of the balcony at the historic Chester Meeting House are expected to cost about $5,000. The repairs were completed last weekend, in time to reopen the balcony for concerts held Saturday night and Sunday.

Selectmen Larry Sypher reported on the repairs at Tuesday’s meeting of the board of selectmen. Sypher, a Democrat elected in 2009, had taken an active role inĀ  getting the work completed after the board learned at an Oct. 4 meeting that the closing of the balcony was impacting community groups that use the building, including the popular Collomore Concert Series that had a concert with out-of-state musicians scheduled for Sunday Oct. 16.

The balcony had been ordered closed by Fire Marshall Richard Leighton after an August inspection uncovered various fire code violations in the heavily used building.

Sypher said a second inspection allowed Leighton to specify the exact repairs that would be needed to reopen the balcony. After conferring with Interim First Selectman Tom Englert, Sypher obtained price quotes from local contractors for the emergency improvements.

The local Klausen Construction Company handled structural repairs to the circular staircases leading to the balcony. Indar Stairs, a firm recommended by Klausen, replaced the too-short balcony railings, while Top Notch Electrical Services of Deep River installed new exit sign lighting.

Sypher the bill from Klausen Construction was about $2,200, with the total cost of the repairs expected be less than $5,000. Selectman Peter Zanardi, a former selectman appointed last month to fill a short vacancy, praised Sypher and Englert for working together to get the most critical improvements at the Meeting House completed in less than two weeks. “This was a joint effort where government and the community came together to get this done,” he said.