As the former Tarkiln school moves closer to becoming a community center, a booster group has been founded to help raise money for the buildingâ€™s renovation.
Tag Carpenter, who is chairman of the Tarkiln Study Committee, will also serve as the vice chairman of the Friends of Tarkiln.
Carpenter said the building hasnâ€™t had an organization in several years, since the last trustee, Jack Williams, was dismissed by the selectmen as the building was shuttered. The study group cannot directly raise funds as an official town committee.
â€œSince the old days with the neighborhood association and the trustees, there hasnâ€™t been an organization there,â€ Carpenter said. â€œThere hasnâ€™t been an entity minding the store, if you will.â€
He said the friends group has hit the ground running, organizing a Pumpkin Sale at Tarkiln on Saturday, Oct. 17 at 9 a.m. and making an in-kind donation, offering to have a private contractor perform asbestos removal on the building. Carpenter was to make the announcement of the donation at Monday nightâ€™s Board of Selectmen meeting, but the meetingâ€™s regular agenda was canceled in favor of an executive session. He estimated the cost of the asbestos removal to the town at about $12,000.
Carpenter said the Friends of Tarkiln Committee is composed of neighbors, former users of the building and historically-inclined folks. The group has been meeting at the Senior Center every couple of weeks on Wednesday nights.
â€œThereâ€™s a need for it ... to carry on that tradition of community engagement at the Tarklin center,â€ he said.
Outside of the fundraising arena, construction on the Tarkiln building is moving forward.
Since Town Meeting approved the use of Community Preservation Act funds to restore the building earlier this year, two requests for proposals have been sent out, one to repair the roof and one to rebuild the septic system. Both projects have been awarded, Carpenter said, and both came in below their original estimates.
Carpenter said some work has already been done on the former schoolâ€™s chimney, but construction wonâ€™t begin in earnest until the end of October. In terms of the septic system, work involves digging up the front yard and the Tarkiln Committee doesnâ€™t want to do that until the Duxbury Farmers Market has closed for the season.
The next big project for the building is interior renovation and ADA compliance work. The Tarklin Committee is working with the architect who drew up the original plans for a larger $1 million renovation project that was eventually voted down.
â€œItâ€™s a different project now,â€ said Carpenter. He said it will take about six weeks to update the plans, then the project will be bid, which will take another six weeks.
He anticipates the building will be open and available to residents and community groups before Memorial Day.