Talk Of The Town

DollarGeneral    Nearly 16 months after a devastating fire destroyed the Dollar General store in Trenton, the store is once again open for business. On Feb. 28, 2016, a fire destroyed the Dollar General building, with strong winds out of the south that quickly spread the fire from the back of the building to the front.
    Construction on the new Dollar General began in mid-February and on Monday, the store was up and running, and was “very busy” that day.
    The new store, which is estimated to be 10,640-square-feet, is about 40 percent larger than the previous store.

3013Aviston Community Improvement Club (ACIC) president Chris Dall (right) hands over the key to Vintage Hall to Aviston mayor Dale Haukup (left) while members of ACIC surround the ACIC board table in the second story of Vintage Hall. Vintage Hall is now available for rent to use. To rent it out, call Aviston Village Hall at (618) 228-7262.    It once served as a jail, a firehouse, a classroom, a village hall office and a meeting hall.
    Now, after having been closed for a number of years, the Aviston Community Improvement Club (ACIC) has renovated the upstairs of the 110-year-old building, called Vintage Hall, and opened it to the public.
    Vintage Hall is located next to Kopff Field, on the corner of Spring Street and First Street.
    Chris Dall, ACIC president, said that it really did “take a village” to get the building up and running just in time for the Aviston Street Fair held earlier this month.
    The building just celebrated its 110th birthday on June 20 and what a piece of history it is for the village of Aviston.
    “The building is going to be a community building,” he said. “We can hold any event here, from showers to small weddings and birthday parties.”
    The upstairs project began late last year. 
    “We wanted to make something relevant to the community,” said Dall.
    He said that he and members of ACIC would often meet for pizza and drinks at Lantern Inn and would discuss future projects and goals for ACIC.
    “In November/December 2016 we got together and talked about what we wanted to do with this building,” he said.
    The building sat empty for approximately 12 years and Dall said that the building didn’t really have a purpose, besides just sitting there.
    “We wanted to do something with this building so it didn’t just sit empty,” he said, adding that the “mantra” of the project has been to pick two of the three — cheap, fast or good.
    “With the past couple of months, things have been happening at a faster pace,” he said.
    The previous version of the room (circa 1982) featured paneled walls, drop ceiling and carpeted floors.
    The work began with tearing up the carpet and replacing it with wood flooring.
    They replaced the ceiling upstairs with an exact replica of the original ceiling, which took approximately three weeks to install.
    In addition, the trim detail, doors and light fixtures were all chosen to match the original versions as close as possible.
    There are all kinds of items offering a little piece of history.
    The chairs surrounding the conference table are the original chairs used at the Clinton County Courthouse well over 75 years ago.
    In addition, there are old photographs placed all over the room, signifying the history of the town. The building now stores dozens of historical artifacts important to Aviston and also serves as the headquarters for the Aviston Community Improvement Club.
    On display is an engraved  piece of wood which was found inside a wall of what was once the oldest home in Aviston.
    According to Dall, the house was built in Old Aviston around the early 1800s. Old Aviston was north of the present Aviston. The people who built the house thought the railroad would be built around Old Aviston. In 1908, when the railroad was not built near Old Aviston, the  owners decided to move the house to present Aviston. When the house was torn down in 1982, the sign was found inside the wall near the front door.
    Another prized possession is the large wooden conference table. 
    “The large wooden conference table is made up of two solid wood doors weighing over 200 pounds each,” he said.
    In fact, the table top and drywall sheets were lifted through the second story windows via Aviston Lumber’s forklift and boom truck.
    As for the downstairs of the building, that’s to be determined. Organizers plan to make the downstairs into a concession stand/bar and storage area.
    “It will be like Aviston’s version of Ballpark Village,” Dall said.
    The downstairs is usable now; in fact, Santa Claus visited with children last December and will be there again this coming December.
    Funds for the project come from the Aviston 150 Committee, donations and fundraisers that the ACIC holds.
    The ACIC and the Aviston 150 Committee all put in their money and their efforts together for the building and Dall really credits the volunteers.
    “This was 100 percent volunteer,” he said, adding that it was really neat to see his generation help with the process.
    Dall couldn’t be more happy with the building, not to mention the volunteers who have gotten it up and running.
    “It hasn’t been just the same five people; it’s been so many,” he said. “It really does takes a village.”
    Aviston Mayor Dale Haukup echoed Dall’s thoughts, adding that it was neat to see the community get together for a purpose.
    “I think the ACIC and the Aviston 150 Committee did a great job coordinating together,” he said. “It’s very important to get the young people involved.”
    Haukup recalled being in the upstairs room for Jaycee meetings in the 1980s and was excited about the building being used.
    “It’s very neat to see old pictures and to  keep the nostalgia in town,” Haukup said. 
    The upstairs room at Vintage Hall is available for use. To rent it out, call Aviston Village Hall at (618) 228-7262.
    The ACIC is always seeking volunteers and donations for upcoming projects. For more information about ACIC, check them out on Facebook.

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