When walking down Grand Avenue, you might notice some activity inside of the old Mancos Times building, as the Mancos Common Press will be starting some preliminary construction.
The work aims to stabilize the 115-year-old building, said Betsy Harrison, president of the Mancos Common Press board, as it prepares to transform the old newspaper hub into a graphic art workshop centered around its rare Cranston printing press.
The nonprofit did not gain approval for a grant from the State Historical Fund this August, because of some technical aspects with their grant package, Harrison said, but the organization plans to reapply for the next round of funding in October.
To keep the Common Press' timeline for operations on track, Harrison said the plan is to start some basic construction work now with the funds raised from the group's Kickstarter campaign.
"There's some structural problems with the back of the building, and it's got to be done first before we can do any restoration work anyway," Harrison said. "The main reason we decided to do work now, is we're trying to stay on track to have programming next summer. If we do some work now, put temperature controls and heat in there, do some more work in the winter, by the time February comes around, we'll have the funds and will be ready to do the bulk."
While not receiving the grant this round was a disappointment, the Common Press did get a bit of good news last week when it was discovered that the 115-year-old building had not only a tap, but running water.
"It turns out that water was set up when the building was built, but it was so long ago the town didn't have record of it. When the town went through and put in meters in the 1970s, they didn't even know it was there," said Harrison. "So we had a work day last Saturday and started moving stuff around in the back, and we found the faucet ... which helps us considerably financially as acquiring a water tap was apart of the grant."
In other Common Press news, the nonprofit is bringing in Matt Neff, who directs the University Pennsylvania's The Common Press project and assisted with the rehabilitation of the Times' Cranston Press last year, for a talk at the Mancos Community Center. The organization is also scheduling several workdays over the next few months and will need volunteers who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty.
For updates and more information visit MancosCommonPress.org