Moving ahead with the aid of strong community donation support last fall, our CCC team is very active as we move into the 2024 year. Here is more information for everyone. Support outreach for this Como project continues with government, corporate world, and new community sources.
First, we're planning and moving forward on several building renovation work items -- indoors and out. Despite winter conditions (on and off!), the CCC team is making plans for some great community garden development on the building external grounds. We are very pleased to let you all know that Luke Nichols will be overseeing garden construction at the CCC building. Luke is a Como neighbor, active Como gardener, and a professional landscape architect at the HGA firm. Luke is the principal designer of the garden concept designs provided to CCC, through HGA's Community Design Workshop event. The first portion we intend to install is the south flower bed, running about 80' long. We're also happy to tell you that the Garden Club of Minneapolis and the Minnesota Horticultural Society are interested in helping build the CCC gardens -- planning discussions are underway with those community groups, and we're grateful to them for bringing their interest. garden expertise, and support to CCC. We're looking for participation by Como gardeners as well, when it's time to begin digging and planting. This garden addition will make a great visual statement and improvement to the Como Center building grounds.
Next, we're working on several important building interior renovations that are suitable for wintertime construction crew activity. One of these is the addition of a safety egress door to the auditorium SW corner, to comply with current safety codes. And the stage area will be receiving electrical upgrades to bring it to current standards, along with some necessary reflooring of the stage rear edge -- a followup after previous wall renovation work.
Looking ahead, we're hoping that most of these work activities and improvements will be visible and close to completion at the upcoming May weekend when the Como Community Center will again be featured in the Rethos citywide "Doors Open" historical buildings tour event, May 18-19. Please mark your calendar to save those days, and visit the Como Community Center to have a look and speak with other Como neighbors.
While building preparation goes ahead, the Como Community Center has begun several of its programming activities -- such as Como architecture/history tours, and community education classes (offsite). Watch for notices of upcoming CCC events. Final note: The CCC continues to receive outside inquiries about booking events and uses at the center (an encouraging sign) -- we're working our best to bring the center into new operation as soon as possible, to enrich Como neighborhood life.
December: Como Community Center is again among the Give MN community support campaigns for 2023. We're receiving a wonderful response. Look for us at https://www.givemn.org/organization/Como-Community-Center or donate here on the CCC site (via PayPal) by going to the Donate page.
Meanwhile we shared 2023 progress and other project info in November at our annual community meeting for the project.
We're invited again to be part of the spring "Doors Open" preservation event next May, so we'll be showing off the CCC in springtime.
Open House & West Como History and Architecture Walking Tour
Saturday October 28
It's another Open House! We are inviting Como neighbors to a fall open house to inspect the building and renovation progress, learn about the building's fascinating history and its future plans. The open house event is 10:00 to 11:00am on Saturday, October 28. Visit the open house, and then join the West Como History and Architecture walking tour!
West Como History and Architecture walking tour! Join us for an approximate 60 minute walking tour with sidewalk presentations at a dozen West Como houses and buildings. Learn about Como's amazing mix of house styles, and the fascinating stories of the Como people associated with the houses, their accomplishments and contributions to Como and the city. The tour departs from the CCC building at 11:00 am.
The CCC center open house is all weather and free entry. The Como walking tour is weather permitting, the tour walks about 5 blocks, no major street crossings, brief standing presentations on sidewalk, free with a donation to CCC suggested. Contact info@ComoCommunityCenter.org for advance info.
Join us for a great morning of Como past, present and future!
September 2023 current activity update
A beautiful new look arrives at the Center! Renovation of the CCC moves ahead during August, with a striking and impressive renovated look to the center's main exterior facade and its auditorium walls. Light brown scallop siding was installed on the upper wall sections, giving the building an attractive and fresh look, this upgrade carries out our intended return to a 1915 period appearance -- a time of important social and historic significance for the Center building in its Como community.
The new siding is long life, and it was selected to be part of the Center's s new color scheme -- as shown in a CCC website concept drawing. The siding installation includes attractive restored and revealed decorative elements that make the center so eye catching. The new siding runs along both auditorium sides and across the main east facade.
What's next? The lower stucco section of the exterior will take on a historic brick color. This will be another renovation to recreate a 1915 period color scheme appearance for our restoration of the Center. This an upcoming renovation work item, planned to happen this fall.
Meanwhile, contractors are planning installation of new finish roof sections by the building towers. We're intending to apply new roof treatments that will be long life, compatible with the Como center's overall historic nature, and which reinforce its distinctive look.
And good progress too recently on the building interior with its necessary systems and renovations. With new electric wiring in place, contractors crews were active recently to install the ductwork and power vent system for the new rest rooms in the building. These new systems are being designed and constructed to meet modern code requirements, while fitting in smoothly and preserving the building's historic appearance as fully as possible.
And, to let everyone know about us, the Center has a new sign above the door !
July/August 2023 current activity update
Reconstruction of the roof by the south and north towers is being completed, to replace worn-out framing and sheathing. This is preparatory work for new finish roofing on those areas.
April/May 2023 update
Interior: Carpentry, electrical, and plumbing crews have been at work, framing the new spaces and upgrading the electrical supply and lighting. This work will provide necessary service spaces at the rear of the auditorium, and create the renovated entries into the building. As systems are updated, fixtures are either renovated for reuse or new fixtures in 1915 style are installed. It's wonderful to see the interior become a renovated, usable space.
Exterior: The siding crew removed stucco from the upper half of the auditorium exterior walls, and installed building wrap and flashing. This work will complete with installation of long life vinyl scallop shakes, restoring the building's facade to its 1915 period look and color.
Plus: The April work revealed wonderful surprises for the goal of historic Como preservation! Our preservation architect, CCC team, and Como neighbors were gathered around below as the exterior crew began stucco removal. Within an hour, we were all thrilled to see original Charles Sedgwick 1886 decorative details reappear as the stucco coating was carefully removed. These are original, 135-year-old building details that have not been seen since the 1950s. Across the front of the building, a large decorative band of rounded and geometric shapes was uncovered below the gable. Soon after, these crew uncovered matched half-round and diagonal ornament panels, and a full width repeating pattern decor band, on the sides of the south tower. These striking design elements by Minneapolis master architect Sedgwick are now going to be restored and repainted -- they will add even more eye catching and pleasing visual interest and beauty to the restored Como Community Center facade for Como folk to enjoy!
Visiting CCC in May: Over 150 visitors from Como and beyond came by to visit the CCC during our participation in the Rethos / Preserve MN "Doors Open" event on May 13-14. Memories, shared information about the building and its history, donations, and project assistance -- all came our way, so our thanks to all our weekend visitors and event volunteers. The Rethos event info page is here.
November 2022 update
the Como Community Center nonprofit organization has now obtained ownership of the main auditorium front section of the historic Congregational building! This important milestone assures that the building will be preserved for the future. It opens the way to launch rehabilitation work projects for the building.
on the day when ownership was transferred, contractors began installing a new heating system in the auditorium section of the building
other rehabilitation work begins soon on other building systems: electrical, water and rest rooms, lighting, building exterior facade
Community meetings to communicate about the project are ongoing. To receive updates about upcoming project status, upcoming meeting invitations, and other notifications please contact us us at Info@ComoCommunityCenter.org .
Elsewhere on the project, fundraising and grant research and writing efforts continue. Neighbor donations for Como Community Center have begun, reaching over $140,000. This is a good start but much more funding is needed to complete the building renovation and begin operation. The CCC team is pursuing additional rehabilitation funding from governmental, corporate and private sources -- to realize the mission of bringing this valuable Como resource back into active community use.
We look forward to offering scheduling of public events at the Como Community Center building.