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UPH Young Members

Thursday, August 25th, 2005 · No Comments

Helping to preserve an historic building, meeting new people, enhancing the quality of downtown resources in Saratoga Springs, and participating in a community project were some of the motivators that brought nearly a dozen of us together last night for the Universal Preservation Hall Young Members tour and meeting.

My first exposure to the UPH project was back in March at a fundraiser auction to benefit the project. To date, I haven’t been involved as a volunteer, but I do hope to do my part for the next year-plus to help restore this beautiful building during its final stretch of renovation.

The non-profit group’s objective in getting young members involved in the project is to broaden the group of individuals involved. Although monetary contributions are always important — the group has raised $2 million of the $3 million needed to complete the renovation — in-kind product or service contributions have been vitally important, too. Also, as I’ve seen in other volunteer groups, it’s important to keep new energy coming in to help distribute the workload and to keep volunteers from getting burnt out.

From the Project page of the UPH site:

The church building has significant historic and architectural importance and is located in one of Saratoga Springs’ National Historic Districts. Built in 1871 by a Methodist Episcopal congregation, it is one of the earliest examples of High Victorian Gothic architecture in the country. Its steeple, with a giant Meneely bell, is one of the city’s last tall spires. In 1999, in recognition of the building’s significance, a joint program of the White House Millennium Council and the National Trust for Historic Preservation designated the church as an official project of Save America’s Treasures.

That’s exciting stuff. Not only does the UPH project to convert the chuch into a community arts / music / wedding / event venue benefit the Saratoga community as a whole, but it helps to preserve an important national historic landmark.

During our tour last night, I learned that before the structural renovations began, we came really close to losing the whole building. A structural engineer told the project team that unless they began work to reinforce the roof before winter, a heavy snowfall could bring the whole thing crumbling down. Ten tons of steel later, the roof has been saved and the building is on its way to reliving its former glory.

I look forward to doing my part to help make the vision of this project a reality.

Tags: saratoga springs