Chamber planning hardhat cocktail party

It’s been a noisy, dusty week at the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce. Construction crews have torn out the old flooring and gutted the bathrooms in preparation for continuing renovations at the Visitors Center (Route 1, Fenwick Island).
Staff members said they’d endured worse (including drafty conditions while crews framed out the east side of the building).
Coastal Point • SAM HARVEY: Kenny Klingensmith runs wire in the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce building.Coastal Point • SAM HARVEY:
Kenny Klingensmith runs wire in the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce building.

Since then, demolition work has revealed a dilapidated subfloor, which came as no surprise to anyone in the office.

“The place was built 20 years ago, and it was really built like a summer cottage,” said executive director Karen McGrath. “We knew the roof was leaking in a couple places.

“When you’re renovating an old building, every time you remove one thing, you find something else,” she pointed out.

Contractors will be repairing those areas next, and putting up insulation worthy of winters on the Atlantic coast.

Meanwhile, the decks are nearing completion, and the addition is starting to take shape. With everyone getting a feel for what their new offices will look like, the staff has reached consensus — it’s time for a celebration.

McGrath said they were planning a Hardhat Cocktail Party on Tuesday, April 12, from 5 to 7 p.m. “This should give everybody a chance to get a look at what’s going on, and what we have planned,” she said.

Admission will be $20 per person, and the first 100 revelers will receive a free hardhat.

Proceeds will go toward the capital campaign.

McGrath said the chamber had received nearly $123,000 in cash and quantified, in-kind donations to date — taking the campaign past the halfway mark.

The entire project is expected to cost $225,000. The goal is to raise those funds as work progresses, with everything paid off by the time the renovations are complete.

McGrath thanked 84 Lumber especially. “And not just because of what they’ve personally given toward the campaign,” she said. “They also helped secure other donations, like the TimberTech decking and the Andersen windows.

“A lot of people are working at cost, donating their time and energy, McGrath continued.

Among them, the original electrical contractor has returned. Gerone C. Hudson Electric wired the Visitors Center back in 1985 — his son, Guy, owns the company now, and has agreed to break even on the rewiring job.

As McGrath stated, “We’re doing the best we can, as far as spending the donors’ money in a frugal manner.”

Once construction is complete, the Visitors Center will be more weather-resistant, heated and cooled by an energy-efficient geothermal system and 50 percent larger than it is now.By Sam Harvey