DUVALL–The timing couldn’t have been worse.
Just when Duvall Foundation for the Arts (DFA) members began to recharge their hopes for the Thayer Barn, even planning a community meeting to share their updated plans and gather public input, the barn took matters into its own hands.
Over the course of the last week, the structure seemed to take on a more definite lean towards the west and the south wall started to separate from the roof.
Passers-by noticed it first, sharing pictures on Facebook. Earlier in the week, DFA President Lin McBride and a contractor had been in the building to try to stabilize some of the structural components with jacks.
“It started to shift about 20 minutes after we left,” McBride said.
The current situation has left DFA members shaken, but not deterred. Their vision for the barn as a community center remains intact, but they have prepared for the possibility that the building may have to be taken apart.
But with the bad news, came some good news last week as the City Council approved a revised Memo of Understanding which is an agreement addressing the way the city, DFA and Westcott Homes (the new owner and developer of the property) will work to achieve the barn project.
Westcott Homes’ development application includes about 100 attached single-family homes, three commercial lots, parks, trails and open space, the relocation of the Thayer Barn and parking areas.
At Saturday’s community meeting Thayer Barn task force members Elizabeth Hill and Connie Zimmerman presented three options they are considering.
“The first option is to further stabilize the barn where it’s at, remove the lower portion and rebuild the upper floor as originally planned, stabilize it with steel beams and move the loft to the new location and build two new stories underneath,” Zimmerman said.
Option 2, she explained, would be to take the loft apart, construct a new barn and repurpose the old wood for non-structural uses in a new building.
Option 3 would be to disassemble the barn, keeping large pieces of the loft intact and slide them into place in the loft of a new barn to retain the appearance of the old barn.
A fundraiser “Hoedown for the Barn” will be held Oct. 24, 7-10 p.m. at Christel Haven Farm in Duvall. For information, check the DFA Facebook page.
In an earlier interview Hill explained that DFA still has all the money it collected years ago but couldn’t do anything to stabilize the barn because the DFA didn’t own it and there was no way of obtaining it.
“But now it’s agreed that Westcott will gift the barn and a small piece of property to the DFA,” she said.
“It’s never going to be the same barn – there are too many holes in it,” Hill concluded.
Turning the barn into a community center has been a longtime dream for the Duvall Foundation for the Arts, and as McBride put it: “Some dreams just don’t die.”