After waterlogged winter, Linden Hall to reopen

March 21, 1994|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Sun Staff Writer

Spring took it's time getting here, but this year, the seasonal change truly does signify a new beginning for Dorsey's Search Village Manager Anne Darrin. She spent the last two months of winter working to repair damage to the village's community building caused by a series of frozen water pipes.

Linden Hall, closed since Jan. 16 when pipes burst on the first of three occasions during one frigid week, will re-open today for classes, such as ballet and aerobics, business seminars, receptions and village business.

Ms. Darrin gets a little choked up when she thinks about progress since those miserable days when water from broken sprinkler heads or plumbing covered areas of the nearly 2-year-old facility with several inches of standing water and ruined furniture and supplies.

Village employees spent long days mopping and channeling water, moving furniture and equipment, cleaning, rescheduling and relocating bookings and making arrangements for repair work.

"It's a real emotional time for me," she said. "You realize what a good staff you have when you have a crisis. I couldn't have gotten through this period without them."

Assistant Manager Jackie Felker, facilities coordinator Karen Knight, covenant adviser Roberta Entrop and evening and weekend hostesses Amy Lohr and Ginny Leslie took on expanded roles, for example, as plumber's assistant, said Ms. Darrin.

"They take pride in this place and treat it like their own home," she said. "This building is very important for the services we provide for people."

The building, which is owned by the Columbia Association, the nonprofit organization that runs the unincorporated city, suffered an estimated $104,000 in damage, which is expected to be covered by insurance.

The village also lost about $21,000 in revenue -- about 12 percent of its annual income -- from canceled or relocated bookings, such as wedding receptions.

Village staff members carried on limited services, helping residents who needed copies, notary services or tickets, while contractors painted, repaired drywall, replaced and refinished the ballroom's hardwood floor and laid new carpet.

Leaders of classes and church groups that were relocated temporarily say they are eager for Linden Hall's re-opening.

Business slumped during the past two months, said Phyllis Wiedefeld, an aerobics instructor and owner of a Jacki's Inc. aerobics franchise.

"Everybody is really in the sync of a routine," she said. "When you have to go out of your way when you're used to going to something in your neighborhood, you just don't want to do it sometimes."

Pastor Donald Dawson of the Crossroads Assembly of God, which has convened at the Columbia Hilton since January, said members often "slip up" and refer to Linden Hall as "the church" because they are so accustomed to worshiping there.

"We'll be really glad to be back," he said.

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