We Name a General Contractor and Break Ground at the Historic Darlington Schoolhouse


Supporters celebrated the groundbreaking at the Darlington Schoolhouse by moving dirt with red plastic spoons–many contributions add up to big achievements. (Photo credit: Jeremy Apgar)

On Thursday, Nov. 21 at noon, the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference broke ground on the final stage of restoration and expansion of the Darlington Schoolhouse as the organization’s new and permanent headquarters.

At the ceremony, the Bolger Foundation of Ridgewood, NJ, presented the Trail Conference with a $500,000 check. The gift marks the Trail Conference’s success in meeting the Bolger Challenge to raise $1 million in the past seven months for the project. Trail Conference Executive Director Ed Goodell also introduced the general contractor who has been selected to manage the construction phase of the project, Mahwah-based Vinnie LaBarbiera of LaBarbiera Custom Homes, a Division of VHI Builders.

Construction is expected to begin in December with a target completion date of November 2014.  Phase 1—which included structural stabilization, exterior renovation, HVAC and utilities—was completed in 2012. Phase 2 of the project will include interior renovation of the original 4,400-square-foot schoolhouse and construction of a 3,700-square-foot, two-story addition.

LaBarbiera helped the Trail Conference finish the first phase of construction. His work includes custom homes and the recent restoration of the 50,000-square-foot Crocker Mansion, a prominent historic building in Mahwah.

ShovelThe Trail Conference has worked with many partners since 2004 to acquire, stabilize, restore, and repurpose the historic Darlington Schoolhouse. To date, $2.5 million of the estimated $2.8 million total project cost has been raised. Over the past seven months of the Bolger Challenge, over 650 individuals, civic organizations, and local businesses made donations that ranged from $10 to $150,000. Additional contributions to meet the full move-in budget continue to be sought.

All gifts to the Trail Conference Darlington campaign are tax deductible and will create a permanent headquarters for the Trail Conference and restore the Darlington Schoolhouse for the benefit of the community.  To contribute to the campaign or help raise the final funds needed, contact Don Weise at 201.512.9348 x13.

About Trail Walker

Since 1920, the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference has partnered with parks to create, protect, and promote a network of more than 2,100 miles of public trails in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan region. The Trail Conference organizes volunteer service projects that keep these trails open, safe, and enjoyable for the public. We publish maps and books that guide public use of these trails. The Trail Conference is a volunteer-driven nonprofit organization with a membership of 10,000 individuals and 100 clubs with a combined membership of 100,000 active, outdoor-loving people.
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