At the February 19th meeting, all five City Council members voted yes to transfer the Meyers House to Alameda Museum. Citing the Museum’s dedication since 1997 with operating the house museum portion, plus years of our past investment in building improvements for roofs, gutters, restroom and back gate, it was agreed that we are better poised to care for the property and get the grounds ready for rental activities than the city.
Transfer of the property was deemed easier than a complicated lease. With consent of the East Bay Community Foundation (EBCF) and the hard work of Amy Wooldridge, Director of ARPD, working with city staff, the house will become our responsibility not later than May 1st. As a reminder to all, while the property is transferred on paper, neither the city nor Alameda Museum could ever sell the property. It can only be returned to EBCF for ultimate disposition.
The house comes with deferred maintenance and all the utilities of a residential house, but the annual grant from the Meyers Sisters Fund at EBCF will come to us instead of the city and help offset expenses. Thanks to many of you and the $10,000 grant from EBCF, we did reach our goal of raising $40,000 for painting and pergola repairs. Some repairs are higher than anticipated because dry rot damage was more extensive than originally thought. With future painting only weeks away, it made no sense to cut corners.
Repairs were complex and done to last for years. Bill, of W. Chapot Construction, milled custom clear heart redwood and recycled a massive post and parts of a lattice panel to save on materials and to get as close as possible to an exact matching profile for replaced wood. He crafted two full lattice panels to match the others, replaced two posts and concrete bases, and rebuilt the pergola gate entrance, where the front pillars were sitting on sawdust. That the whole pergola did not collapse at the gate is a miracle. At the house, the front porch pillar and lower buttresses were also repaired. Beautiful work, to last our lifetime anyway. Thanks Bill.
So many things to do. The painting bids are mostly in-hand. But first, there is a roof repair over the library, where it has been leaking this winter. We are also looking at the roof bid on the pump house and deciding on priorities like garden sheds for tables, chairs, and food service. Landscape changes for easier maintenance over the years to come are also needed. Some bushes and taller tree-like shrubs are reaching the end of their lifespan and some are blighted. Replacement greenery will require a landscape plan (in the works) and funds to purchase and plant. The sprinkler system in the front yard is broken. Gravel needs to be removed so that a harder surface can be created for tables and chairs. Volunteer labor will be appreciated, so if you are a gardener at heart, let us know how you would like to help. It is hoped that come July or early August, the majority of the work is done. The Thank You Party for major donors giving $250 or more toward the capital campaign will probably be in August.
There will be smaller “introduction” events in the grounds as we let the various business associations, art groups, realtors, and wedding planners learn of the venue. When we are ready to accept bookings, news of rental rates and new pictures will be placed on the website. [This information is now located here.] But for now, we are in deferred maintenance abatement mode. We will gladly accept donations toward the cause, as $40,000 is not going to cover all that we hope to do this spring. Please make checks payable to Meyers House and send to Alameda Museum. Donations are tax deductible. The house and grounds are going to be a knock out and a fantastic place for events.