DeStefano helps steeple restoration effort

4/6/2006


Date: Thursday, Apr 6, 2006
Publication: Portsmouth Herald

PORTSMOUTH - DeStefano Architects will assist with the fund-raising efforts to repair and restore the Market Square steeple downtown. Lisa DeStefano, owner of the firm and a lifelong local resident of Portsmouth, said she hopes to help rally the enthusiasm and support of local businesses and community leaders to update and preserve the landmark.

For well over a century, the Market Square steeple has been a big part of Portsmouth's celebrations and community events. It has garnered recognition by being depicted on everything from postcards to T-shirts and is a draw for the thousands of tourists who visit Market Square. But now extensive repairs and updates are required.

Milestone Engineering and Construction Inc. of Concord and American Steeple and Tower Company of Salem, Mass., are on board to manage the repair and reconstruction.

The $1.5 million project includes restoration of the steeple and its roof, structural renovation, electrical and mechanical updates, an upgrade of the entry and utilities, and masonry repair.

All efforts will be made to preserve the original design. For example, the rotted woodwork of the scrolls will be replaced with Spanish cedar and mahogany custom milled to match what exists.

All salvageable materials will remain, including the steeple bell, which will be removed temporarily to secure its deck. The weathervane will be preserved and covered in an Italian gold leaf that will resist corrosion for 30 years or more.

With half of the $1.5 million already raised, the remaining funds are in the process of being raised through the efforts of hundreds of companies and volunteers in support of The Market Square Steeple Fund, a non-denominational/non-religious 501(c)3 organization separate from the church or its members.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

To volunteer for the fund-raising efforts, call Phil Pettis, campaign chairman, at 436-4010.

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