Flood Recovery Update, August 9, 2023

UCM’s Board has enlisted a team charged with overseeing the church’s response to its July 11 flooding. The Flood Recovery Unitarian Universalist Team (FRuuT) includes members from the Board, Executive Team, Finance Committee and Property Committee. For information about FRuuT’s Charge and activities, go to https://sites.google.com/view/2023floodrecovery/home.

FRuuT asks that you volunteer (sign up at https://forms.gle/D8wkVtSxtJCR97Nq8) when there is a request to help return our church to a useable condition.  We particularly need folks who have some construction skills, as it is very difficult to get contractors at this time.  Also, we temporarily need secure dry spaces (something similar to two garage stalls) to store the church’s furnishings while work continues.

Donate to UCM’s Flood Recovery Fund.  At this time the fund has approximately $100,000 while the expectation is that costs could exceed $200,000. Active members, please attend and vote during the Zoom Congregational Meeting on August 20 at 4 pm. The Congregation’s permission to spend unbudgeted funds is necessary.

The flood entirely filled the basement and topped the floor of the first floor in many areas.

The City of Montpelier has Zoning Requirements that do not allow replacing installed equipment below two feet above the designated flood level. That totals to approximately two feet above the level of the Vestry floor. Installed equipment that must be replaced include the water heater, the organ blower, and perhaps the elevette drive equipment. They were all damaged or ruined by the flood.

Initial cleaning of the basement and first floor was accomplished by a team of volunteers in the days following the flood. Fans and dehumidifiers are continuing to dry the building.  More cleaning is required, especially in the basement. A complication is that we had previously scheduled basement asbestos remediation and removal of the old heating ducts for the week of August 21.  Until the ducts are removed, they are a barrier to completing cleaning and doing mold remediation. In addition, cleaning will be happening in the rest of the building. At the appropriate point we will have testing for mold and other contaminants. The intent and acceptable goal is that the building test safe for normal use.

In the days following the flood the basement was nearly entirely emptied of equipment, refrigerators and freezer, furniture and other items. In the near future we will be relocating furnishings from the first floor to prepare for additional work starting with a deep clean. We are still determining to what degree the first floor flooring will be removed or repaired. The first 16” of drywall and insulation has been removed in the office area and will be replaced with more flood resilient materials. Future updates will come in the Weekly Announcements.

Submitted by Phil Morse, member of the UCM Flood Recovery UU Team (FRuuT)