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Nelson farmhouse workers look to nail June 1 deadline

POULSBO — Now that they’ve got the go ahead on the Nelson Park farmhouse renovation, Bight of Poulsbo members agree that a June 1 deadline is doable.

“June 1 is no problem,” said Bight member Bill Austin. “If it goes beyond June 1, it’s going to cost me money, so I have a good motivation.”

With permits and a blessing from the Poulsbo City Council in hand, renovation of the farmhouse has kicked into high gear this month. A recent work party stripped the home’s walls of sheet rock in preparation for electrical wiring work — donated by Bird Electric — which is set to take place soon.

Volunteer Drake Walters of Suquamish said he hadn’t seen the Nelson house in many years and although there was still a lot of work to be done, he noted that the structure seemed to be very sturdy.

“It’s got potential,” he added, knocking on a window frame to demonstrate its strength.

Despite being made out of very solid, very strong wood, Austin said one rear section of the home that had been damaged by an inadequate drainage system was recently removed. Austin explained that there was simply too much rot in the wood beams to save the area. The removed section will likely become a porch and back entrance to the home, still leaving plenty of space for use as the park caretaker’s abode.

The home’s foundation will be another consideration.

Austin said some of the same drainage problems that caused rot in the rear section of the home have also rotted some of the building’s hand-hewn, wooden foundation blocks. Working closely with a city building inspector, he said in some supporting beams will be jacked up and a new concrete foundation will be poured.

And while the renovation has made leaps and bounds because of community volunteers, the next couple of months will likely be primarily work by professionals who have donated their time. Up coming projects include plumbing, installation of sheet rock, siding, doors and windows. Austin said right now the volunteer-led project mainly needs support from the community in the form of donated materials and services.

“Occasionally we’ll have work parties and then we can use help. We’ll probably have work parties to paint but that will about be it for a couple of months,” he explained.

Meanwhile, on a financial side, the Poulsbo City Council continues to look at ways to fund its $25,000 contribution toward the renovation. This portion will include both cash and in-kind services. The Poulsbo Finance and Administration Committee members have indicated that the funding should not be too difficult to find. The issue will likely be brought before the full council after the city’s budget carryforward numbers are known in early February.

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