It has taken more than a year, but money from a state grant should begin flowing to the Merryall Center for the Arts within the next several weeks.

Former Gov. M. Jodi Rell nominated the New Milford center for a $150,000 grant at the December 2010 bond commission meeting, when it was approved.

Since then, "we have been dealing with the state bureaucracy," according to Eileen P. Monaghan, the center's co-president.

"We thought we had it wrapped up last summer," she added, "but then the attorneys representing the state came back three times, during three months, for `just one more document."

Among the more unusual requirements, Mrs. Monaghan said, was the center had to take a mortgage on the 100-plus-year-old building, to be sure "we won't move it out of the state. Apparently, one former grant recipient took the money from the state and moved the business out of state."

During 2011, the Merryall Center worked with local contractors to raise the building, remove and replace failing cellar foundations and walls, and begin installation of a handicap-accessible bathroom on the main floor.

"Temporary repairs had been made during the building's history," Mrs. Monaghan said, "but this time we decided to do it right."

Thanks to the efforts of Larry and Pat Greenspan, the former private residence turned grange hall turned arts center has been designated a historic building.

Charles Bogie has volunteered as the general contractor coordinating the renovation efforts.

"Now, with the money finally coming from the state," Mrs. Monaghan said, "we can move on to the next phase, which will involve replacing the roof, windows and doors."

Once that is complete, she said, the final phase will include adding air conditioning, upgrading the kitchen and landscaping.

"We are seeking bids from local contractors for the next phase," she said.

If interested in bidding on the roof, windows and/or doors, call 860-946-7040 or email In addition, the center is looking for new board members.