Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Improvements under foot at Vernon clerk's office

By Jason Rowe
Journal Inquirer
August 26, 2006

VERNON - Visitors to the town clerk's office no longer get that sinking feeling when they approach the front counter.

After closing for several days this month, the clerk's office has reopened with a new carpet and a more stable floor.

Before the quick repairs, weak spots in the floor made workers and visitors feel as if they were sinking into the aging carpet, which was becoming tattered.

"At least now, we know what's under here," Town Clerk Bernice Dixon said. "It's an improvement over duct tape."

The clerk's office was closed from Sept. 7 to Sept. 12 to give workers the chance to rip up the old carpet and repair the sinking floor.

Once they pulled up the old carpet, workers found a variety of wooden floorboards - installed at different times and, in some cases, different directions.

The floor also featured several metal plates.

The gaps between the metal plates were filled with wooden planks, some of which were becoming detached.

This contributed to the sinking sensation some felt as they walked across the old floor, Dixon said.

During the weekend, workers repaired the deteriorating floor and installed plywood to even out the surface. New padding and carpets were put down as well.

In all, the work cost the town nearly $4,000.

Once the new carpet was installed, workers from the town clerk's office scrambled to put filing cabinets, desks, and computers back into their proper place.

In all, Dixon said, complaints about the office's closure were minimal and now workers and visitors have a much sturdier and safer floor.

"They did the best they could with what they had," said Dixon, who said a more complex renovation probably would be necessary in the distant future. "We're very pleased with the outcome."

Constructed in the late 19th century, Town Hall has begun to show its age.

Recently, water began infiltrating the town's finance offices, located on the second floor of the building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The water leaks, the result of deteriorating mortar on the building's exterior, are being fixed by a repointing under way and scheduled to be completed later this fall.

©Journal Inquirer 2006