Renovations planned for community hall Volunteers, state combine forces NORTH LAUREL/SAVAGE

April 30, 1993|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

The Carroll Baldwin Memorial Hall in Savage has seen bette days.

Over the years, the 70-year-old Baltimore Street building, which has served as the town's community center, has deteriorated badly.

The roof leaks, the electrical systems are outdated and the windows are rotting.

To save the hall, the General Assembly approved a $70,000 grant earlier this month to complete major repairs and make the building accessible to the handicapped.

In addition to the state money, the county will contribute $67,000 toward the project and the Savage community will raise $3,000.

The hall is "what small-town America is all about," said Del. Martin G. Madden, a District 13B Republican. "They have Halloween parties there, the Savage Community Association meets there, the local CPA has his office in the basement. It deserves to be restored to its former glory."

The county's General Assembly delegation introduced legislation last year, but no new capital projects received funding because of the state budget crunch.

The proposal was one of the few capital projects approved this year, Mr. Madden said. "It was a very modest request," he said. "We're not trying to build a new edifice; we're trying to maintain what we already have."

Mr. Madden credited Sen. Thomas M. Yeager, a District 13 Democrat, with getting the bill through the Senate after the House failed to include it in its capital budget. The bill received final approval in a joint capital budget conference committee, Mr. Madden said.

Built with stone from the bed of the Little Patuxent River, the hall was a gift to the Savage community from Sallie Baldwin and the local mill owner, Leslie Evans and Co. Baldwin built the hall in memory of her brother, Carroll, president of the mill from 1905 to 1918.

"A lot of people drive by and say, 'Isn't that a pretty building,' but they don't see the damage inside," said Cathy Whitehead, president of the Carroll Baldwin Memorial Institute, which oversees the hall.

Community leaders are planning to meet soon to discuss ways to raise the $3,000 for which the town is responsible. They have plans to set up a "Help the Hall" table at Savage Fest in June.

An Ellicott City developer who "has a sweet spot in his heart for old buildings" has already donated $500, Mrs. Whitehead said.

For the past five years, Dennis Thornton and other Savage residents have done their best to maintain the hall and repair some of the damage.

Several times, volunteer Dick Bourgin has used mountain climbing equipment to climb the roof and patch leaking areas, Mr. Thornton said.

But the cost of completing the needed repairs was prohibitive. A new slate roof alone will cost $50,000, Mrs. Whitehead said.

Gail Bates, assistant to the county executive, said she is not sure when the state and county money will be available to start repairs. But it will not be before July 1, the beginning of the 1994 fiscal year.

"It's a beautiful building; it's great to have a focal point in the community," Mrs. Bates said. "It would be a shame to lose a building like that."

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