We've mentioned in our brochure and on the FB page that in February 2016, a walk through of the Pink House by a local HIC/CSL builder, along with Rochelle Joseph from our Steering Committee, and Parker River Wildlife Manager Bill Peterson produced a report that the Pink House was structurally sound.
That builder was trusted Newbury resident Bill Barrett.
Bill's company, Plum Island Construction, is well known in the area. Not a day goes by when you don't see his trucks driving by, or parked in front of one beautiful home or another that he and his crew are creating.
Back in October 2015, when the Support the Pink House movement was in it's infancy, the Parker River Wildlife Refuge held a public meeting in answer to the growing public interest in the Pink House's fate. Bill was there out of his own personal concerns. At that time he asked if he might be able to go through the house - a request not granted to many. Nothing came of it at that time, but Bill went on to become an early member of our Facebook Discussion Group based on the issue, and was one of the first to buy STPH bumper stickers - 5 in fact - to go on every vehicle he owns!
STPH realized the first step was to learn the reality of The Pink House's condition by seeing it first hand with an experienced, reliable professional. After the holidays, Rochelle, who had been in regular touch with the Refuge Manager, asked if Bill could get into the house on STPH's behalf. In mid-February, Peterson allowed Barrett and she to walk through it with him. Together they looked into every nook and cranny from the basement to the cupola, as Bill Barrett opened every door, stuck his head out of key windows, surveying it inside and out.
After exiting the house, Bill reported that he was pleasantly surprised to find that the house was structurally sound, noting that the fireplace was well in tact - unusual due to it's size. He expected that the foundation might be cracked due to deterioration but none was visually seen. The external patio floor was slanted a bit, but Bill said that was just superficial and easily improved.
STPH greatly appreciated that Refuge Manager Peterson arranged for this, and continued on to comb maps with Rochelle at his office for two hours after the walk through, coming up with some options for retaining the Pink House in the community. Two of the three initial solutions focused on land swaps, as Federally owned land can't just be sold.
As the Steering Committee set out immediately to pursue the vast challenge of finding swaps to fit the criteria, Bill met with them in April, contributing both perspective and advice, and directed some valuable web research that made a major shift in their early efforts to understand the lay of the land.
When the time comes that the house would be refurbished, Bill has said he would head the project if called upon, and aid in getting donated materials and licensed and insured workers if needed. We don't quite know yet which iron in the fire will come to fruition, but we continue to prepare to be able to act on what we'll need once a solution is reached.
We get a great deal of confidence having people like Bill Barrett on board, working on behalf of his community. That's a volunteer extraordinaire!