The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local News

October 11, 2013

Help on the way for Bent's Opera House

Medina Journal-Register — The Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc. announced earlier this week that it has received $100,000 in the form of an emergency loan from the Preservation League of New York State. The funds will be used immediately to address the main structural support timber on the buildings’ southeast corner.

Chris Busch, Vice President of ORG, said the organization is “extremely grateful” for the support of the Preservation League.

“They recognize the regional importance and viability of this project, and we owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude for their advocacy,” he said.

The removal of the faux stone and facia last year revealed a critical concern: the condition of the main support timber on what was the former Armstrong’s Drug Store had rotted to the point where the structural integrity of the building could be compromised.

“This huge wooden timber is nearly 150 years old. Prior to removing the faux stone, we were only guessing as to what caused the dramatic settling around the southeast corner of the building. Once the stone was removed, we saw that we needed to act quickly in professionally assessing the deterioration,” said Busch.

“This deterioration had obviously been an issue for decades. It’s a miracle the masonry wall on that corner had not suffered a much greater and more calamitous compromise,” he added.

ORG engaged engineer Don Jensen of Jensen Engineering in Rochester who determined that the vast majority of the old beam was fine and in remarkable condition. The entire southeast section, however, requires immediate replacement with steel using a specialized process called “needling”.

“The most pressing concern right now is addressing the beam,” said Busch. “No further work on the façade can take place until that has been corrected.”

ORG has engaged Peter Matthews of Matthews House Movers in Rochester, to replace the beam. Matthews was in Medina this week to begin installing rigging or “cribbing” to stabilize the building prior to repairs.

“We hope to have this phase of façade work completed soon and to possibly effect some additional façade restoration as well,” said Busch. “ORG wants folks to know that important progress is being made everyday in bringing Bent’s back to life.”

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