The City of Melfort announced on Monday that work will begin shortly to remove the paint from the exterior brick of the Historic Melfort Post Office.
The work is a continuation of the City’s commitment to preserve and rehabilitate this landmark building. The paint removal project will be one of the most noticeable changes to date and change the streetscape of Main Street.
“The historic bricks were designed to allow moisture to pass through the masonry. The paint that was applied to the exterior of the bricks by a previous owner has caused moisture to be trapped inside the bricks and should be removed before it causes irreversible damage to the masonry,” said City of Melfort Community Development Manager, Brent Lutz.
TK Restorations were on site a number of weeks ago testing different methods to remove the paint from the exterior without damaging the brick.
After several methods were tried including blasting and chemical processes one was decided upon. “One product did well, it emulsifies the paint on the brick and we can wash off the paint with no damage,” Lutz said.“We get 98 percent paint removal.”
The organization undertaking the process has ordered the product and intends on starting the labour intensive job as soon as the product arrives. Lutz said the process is estimated to take about four weeks. “That is weather dependent, but it leaves us with plenty of time before the pressures of the weather.” Once the project commences, a consultant will be on site to manage the paint removal process.
Since 2012 the City of Melfort in conjunction with Avatex Dev. Corp (Developer of the Stonegate Shopping Centre) have been working together to preserve and rehabilitate this building as part of downtown renewal.
Work completed to date includes; restoring heat in the building to halt deterioration of the structural components, scraping and painting the trim to protect the wood from rot and improve the overall appearance, relining the eaves to protect the exterior from water damage and resurfacing the metal roof to extend its life and improve its appearance.
Councilor Donna Ponath praised the work done to date.
“The deterioration of the building has been a result of years of neglect. It takes time to arrest the process and begin the slow process of rehabilitation. Some of the changes to date have been subtle but we are now starting to see the combined effect of our efforts.”
Future plans include interior renovations to accommodate the Main Street Business Revitalization Office in a portion of the building later this fall. Meanwhile the Preservation and Rehabilitation Committee continue to pursue opportunities that would see this building fully returned to be a part of daily life in downtown Melfort