Local group aims at improving New England

Over two decades ago, Ruth Fitterer set out to make some improvements to the Memorial Hall in New England. Today, Ruth and a set of board members are a part of the New England Community Renovation Project inc. (NECRP), a 501(c)(3) organization that strives to improve the city for its citizens.

A view down the ramp in the Memorial Hall. This is where the elevator door will open to the main floor.
A view down the ramp in the Memorial Hall. This is where the elevator door will open to the main floor.

Posted October 17, 2014

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

Over two decades ago, Ruth Fitterer set out to make some improvements to the Memorial Hall in New England. Today, Ruth and a set of board members are a part of the New England Community Renovation Project inc. (NECRP), a 501(c)(3) organization that strives to improve the city for its citizens.

The first project Ruth took on was in trying to find a way to get new tables for the city to use at the hall. The old ones were heavy, and the wear and tear began to be too much.

Though it was a small task, the Memorial Hall eventually got new tables.

So what was next?

The kitchen.

The old kitchen became antiquated and the demands for updated facilities were very apparent. Sitting in the old kitchen space were outdated appliances and an awkwardly deep sink. The space in which these appliances were held was also something to be desired.

So they moved the location of the kitchen and upgraded the appliances. They also were able to secure new cabinets for the new facility. The cabinets were largely the benefit of some help from TMI. TMI had employed some residents of New England and as long as there were not special orders required, the materials and labor were all donated to the project.

“It was such a satisfying project,” Fitterer said.

She has also been there for the renovation of the bathrooms and some of the constant upkeep a building of that age requires.

The New England Community Renovation Project has helped the city outside of the Memorial Hall too.

When the pool was constructed 10 years ago, they did so through the organization. Though many different people played an integral role in completing that project, the NECRP helped to facilitate.

So what’s next for the organization?

If you’re asking Ruth Fitterer, she’ll tell you it’s getting an elevator installed in Memorial Hall.

For the past few months, Ruth Fitterer has been working tirelessly to get this project completed. She’s applied and received many grants already. Has bids and layout plans for what the project will look like.

Currently there is little to no access to the different floors of the building. Though it does have  ramp on one side, it is very steep, and the angle it sits at makes it difficult to climb, especially carrying heavy loads and to anyone requiring the use of a wheel chair.

On the other side efforts were made to ease stair climbing. The stairs were reconstructed to lengthen them, as to allow hall goers to take two steps per stair.

So while Fitterer is still working on grant money and other avenues of funding, she said there will be future fundraising, including the upcoming dinner theater production of ‘Murder Can Be Habit-Forming’.

The board of the NECRP sits at eight members, and the group will continue to make improvements for the betterment of the city of New England.Ruth Fitterer enjoys accomplishing the goals set out to improve the city, but she also relishes in what the improvements have done for the people by the people.

“It’s been such a rewarding task,” Fitterer said.“Not only in getting the things done, but in the people that offered their help.”

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