Communication Gap – Part 2
I love it when a plan comes together.
I love it even more when something unplanned comes together!
You may have read about the unplanned trench alongside our lodge, extending almost out to the street. The result of an unfortunate miscommunication between the general contractor and several sub-contractors working on the building next door, it generated a bit of excitement among the brothers who spotted it while driving through town. Well, perhaps “excitement” isn’t the correct word. “Consternation” might be closer to the truth, and who could blame them? A 5′ x 5′ trench 30′ long is not a bug, it’s a feature; the Masonic numbers 5 and 3 notwithstanding.
So it worked out that the developer – the owner of the building next door – figured it would be a good idea to pour a small footing wall for an eventual handicap access ramp. Since a good portion of the expensive work had already been done (i.e., the heavy equipment and excavation), all that would be left to do is pour some cement, which was already being used on the other construction site. Then, at some point in the future when we could afford it, we could build the ramp.
In case anyone is wondering about why we don’t already have a ramp, the answer is simple: we didn’t have the $12,000 that the contractors estimated it would cost. Well, that’s not completely true – we have about that much earmarked for building improvements, but we recently discovered that our building needs some serious roof replacement, to the tune of – you guessed it – about $12,000.
And before anyone wonders why we don’t have enough money, the answer is this: I don’t know.
I always cringe when I hear this statement: “Hey Tom, you run a business, surely you’d be a good person to know about this stuff.”
No I’m not, and don’t call me Shirley.
About two years ago, one of the more progressive minded members suggested that we should have a new board of directors for the building committee to oversee the new by-law changes that the Grand Lodge wanted the lodges to make to become compliant with the change to a 501-C(3) Non-Profit status.
No, I didn’t understand it, either. Not at first, anyway. But I did understand that, like many small lodges in the New England hinterlands, the dues were too low to support the lodge building, but nobody seemed to know about it because there was not enough communication between the committee (The Temple Corp.) and the lodge members themselves. Southington was, until maybe a generation ago, a small town with farms and a small manufacturing base fueled by a now-closed Pratt & Whitney Aircraft plant. For the last fifteen or twenty years the number of suburban commuter households have increased dramatically, and we are now a large town of 40,000 people. Unfortunately, the population increase happened at a time when there had already been a long down-turn in fraternal memberships, so we were never able to put as much money aside for improvements and repairs as we could have – or should have – done. I’ve noticed that the lodges in Connecticut cities are better off, financially, then those in the outlying towns. In fact, I’m often surprised to find that some of the more upscale commuter towns have no lodges at all, while towns ‘way out in the boondocks manage to keep going. I haven’t looked into why this is so.
Anyway, the other day I get a call from Jim, our JW. “There’s a big wall going up in the trench.” Yup, yup, I knew that. Glad to hear that they’re getting the work done. “No, it’s a really big wall.” Yeah, yeah, it’ll be mostly in the ground, don’t worry about it. So I stop by the next morning.
Wow. That’s a lot of footing wall.
I had expected that we would get a section that would stick about six inches to a foot out of the ground. What I saw was over a foot at the street end and tapered up to the height of the front steps. This was much more than I had expected, but at the same time, it became an issue. If we didn’t get a ramp in there ASAP, then it was going to look like hell.
The developer happened upon me while I was taking some pictures, and I asked him about how this was going to work. If you’re looking at the pictures, we’ll probably have to fill the section between the wall and the building up to the second stair, and then pour a sloping sidewalk down toward the front, grading the fill to match. This would give us something ramp-like, giving visitors an easier access and would keep the wall from looking like an eyesore. On the other side of the wall, the new branch of Valley Bank will have a drive-thru, so it would seem to work out for everyone.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed.