NORTH BENNINGTON — Lake Paran will have a new Lake House this spring, thanks to the generosity and support of many local partners.
"We had to rebuild the whole bathhouse, because they found it had been undermined by erosion," said Lake Paran Recreations Chairwoman Alisa Del Tufo, on the 50-year-old structure.
The organization had determined that the foundation could not be repaired, and the building would need to be replaced. The new building, which includes the snack bar and bathhouse, will feature a covered patio, a bigger, better kitchen, better bathrooms, and will be heated, allowing for use through more of the year. The construction is expected to be completed before the lake reopens on Memorial Day.
Students from Brian Coon's building trades program at the Southwest Vermont Career Development Center have performed most of the actual construction of the new building, right up until winter break. Del Tufo said Lake Paran has worked with CDC students in the past, on smaller projects, and that she reached out to Coon to see if he was interested in this project. She said the project was expected to cost around $200,000, but, "without their help, it would have cost twice that."
The students have benefitted from a relatively mild winter so far. Their next step, once they return from winter break, is to install the structure's roof, which will allow them to work indoors for the most difficult winter months. "(The weather) has been helpful for us, and for them," said Del Tufo.
Lake Paran Recreations also received significant support from the Norshaft Lions, the Fund for North Bennington, the Village of North Bennington, and Bennington College. They, and other donors, will be recognized by a plaque once the building is complete. Between the public and private donors, the organization has already raised over $130,000, and is looking for donations as small as $25 from members of the public to make up the difference. The group has also applied for a state Recreational Facilities Grant to help fund the project.
"We know that you love Lake Paran and hope that you will help us to make this plan a reality," Del Tufo wrote in a fundraising letter to the community, "Like the visionaries of the past it is now our turn to pay it forward; remaking this amazing community resource for the future, insuring that there will be a place for kids to learn to swim, play outside all summer, get their first job, canoe in search of turtles, fish with their parents and get themselves a grilled cheese sandwich! Also, with this improved facility, Paran Recreations will be able to host more events, generating more revenue, making us more financially secure and supporting our work in a more sustainable manner."
Anyone wanting to make a donation can forward it to Paran Recreations, PO Box 393, North Bennington, VT 05257. You can learn more about their activities by visiting lakeparan.wordpress.com, or on Facebook at facebook.com/lakeparan.