Sherry Pedonesi, President of Friends of Chinsegut Hill delivered her semi-annual update to the BOCC. In their second year of being open to the public, Pedonesi believes that it would not take much to bring Chinsegut Hill on par with other historic attractions or retreats. In the past year, the retreat has been host to a number of different events including yoga, meditation, birders, and church groups, with some already reserving dates for the next year.
Calendar events at Chinsegut include quarterly dinners, monthly luncheons, daily tours, kid days and book discussion groups. Due to the interest of a number of churches, Pedonisi will be contacting as many as 5,000 churches in a 350 mile radius to invite them to come to Chinsegut for retreats. A Labor Day picnic with live entertainment and family activities is planned.
The profit and loss statement provided to the BOCC showed that they have increased the number of rooms rented already this year from 431 in all of 2014-2015 to 655 to date in 2016. Room reservations through August will bring that number to more than a thousand, with a projected profit of $9,347.53.
Pedonesi believes that with some upgrades they will do even more business in years to come, which will impact the local community. The most urgent needs are to add bathrooms to the dining hall and classroom, replace the vinyl windows with glass, and replace the air conditioner. These improvements are estimated to cost $50,000, and Pedonesi suggested that the BOCC put out a request for design/build bids. Safety concerns include the need for new walkways and lighting between the buildings, and depending upon the design, could cost as much as the three improvements above. Each of the seven cottages will also need beds and linens replaced.
The museum is being compared to other historical homes and there have been more than 350 paying guests, which does not include members or guests of the retreat. Pedonesi advised that drapes are needed to preserve the antique furniture and to save on heating and cooling costs. Additional needs are for lighting fixture replacements in many rooms and ceiling fans on the porch to cool the area, and to invite more guests to the porch, chairs and tables are suggested. Pedonesi stated it would be nice to sand and protect the hardwood floors, a project which would take approximately 10 days. Upgrading the cottages (separately from the beds and linens) could be accomplished through fundraising or corporate sponsors for an “adopt a cottage” program.
In trying to assist the Friends of Chinsegut Hill with obtaining funding for the three most immediate improvements, the BOCC will send staff to research the location, what will be needed, and prepare a report to present at the 5/24/16 BOCC meeting. Anyone who may be able to help with funding any portion of the improvements is encouraged to contact Sherry Pedonesi with the Friends of Chinsegut Hill.