Restoration work on the Middle Valley Community Center Building

The Middle Valley Community Center is dedicated to preserving the Middle Valley Historic District and was a key participating principle for creating the district. It started in 1989, when Trustees Margaret Nordstrom, Dr. Laura Knipmeyer, Jody Gardner, Steve Firtko, Ken Knipmeyer and Bill Leavens began working on the project. The project started with a door-to-door questionnaire and inventory of the 46 properties, followed by contributions of many residents who compiled the complete historical, deed research, photography and editing of the applications for the proposed district. They eventually applied for and were granted adoption of Middle Valley, NJ on the State and Federal Historic Registries as well as the creation of the MV Historic District as an overlay zone of Washington Township.

The Building

The community center, also known as the Chapel, is one of the oldest contributing buildings in the Middle Valley Historic District. As such the Trustees have sought historic building preservation utilizing fund raising and grant money from State agencies and private funding sources. In the past, repairs on the building have not always been sympathetic to the building's historic elements for a number of reasons with the most obvious being monetary.

In 2002 the Board of Trustees made a monumental commitment of time and money to pursue restoration of the Middle Valley Community Center. In December of that year, an application was made to the Morris County Heritage Commission for a grant to cover a building assessment report. MVCC was awarded the grant January 28, 2003 for $2,500 and was obligated to completing the assessment by July the same year. Total cost for the assessment was $3,500 which meant MVCC had to make up the difference.

The building assessment report laid the foundation for identifying problem areas. In particular the bell tower/entrance porch roof was pointed out as a major concern area requiring immediate work.

"The existing bell tower and entrance roof framing is structurally unsound.

This condition has been caused mainly by the configuration of the adjoining entrance way gable roof. The roof valley adjoining the bell tower does not have a cricket and captures snow and ice. This snow and ice does not readily melt as this area is shielded from the sun. Consequently the structural framing of the bell tower and the gable roof has deteriorated in this area. The deterioration of the bell tower columns at the entrance way gable roof represents a danger to the occupants of the building as well as a danger to passing motorist.

Bell tower and entrance require restoration. The bell tower wood railing at the entrance level and the bell tower/entrance porch should be restored."

July 16, 2004, the Trustees were notified by Morris County Board of Freeholders they had recieved a $82,368 grant from the 2004 Morris County Historic Preservation Trust Fund. This was an 80/20 agreement, MVCC had to provide $20,592 which brought the total project cost to $102,960.

The project was broken into sections with overlap in some areas due to the building's construction.